Hong Kong: "We`ll be back" was the farewell message Wednesday from protesters in Hong Kong`s principal business and shopping districts where they were awaiting the final act of the unprecedented pro-democracy campaign they began over two months earlier.
Thursday, thousands of policemen will execute a High Court order to clear the protest sites which have disrupted traffic in the city ever since demonstrations broke out when the Beijing government refused to allow independent candidates on the ballot for local elections set for 2017.
Though the court ordered only certain areas to be cleared of tents and barricades and evacuated, police are expected to take advantage of the occasion to clear the entire city of protesters.
"We are physically leaving but we will be back. We are all together in this. The streets await us and there we shall be," Paul Wong, a youth who has been living in a tent in the Admiralty district since Sep 26, told Efe news agency.
Wong collected his belongings as he prepared to vacate his shelter.
"I will be here tomorrow and see how the police put an end to probably everything. But this very week I will go to Mong Kok or Central (neighbourhoods) or wherever the students continue to seek more political freedom for Hong Kong," he emphasised.
The evacuation is scheduled to begin Thursday at 9 a.m. after the High Court ruled in favour of a transport company who complained of losses due to the protesters blocking the streets.
The estimated 7,000 police officers will face only a few hundred protesters,in line with the number of people who have gathered on the streets in recent weeks.
Student leaders and liberal legislators called on people to stay calm and avoid clashes with the authorities, particularly given the disproportionate numbers.
"I`m not going because I`m afraid of how I might be treated by police tomorrow. But I am not sad, I know that we have achieved something. We have educated a lot of youngsters," Efe was told by a teacher who was a regular visitor to the protest sites.
"The battle will continue, we`ll be back, we are not going to give up," she added.
Police officers and sanitation personnel are expected to alternate in returning to normal activity the occupied zone in the Admiralty district where Hong Kong`s financial institutions and government offices are concentrated.
Government employees face the task of replanting the organic gardens the protesters will be leaving behind and vast amounts of water and soap will be required to remove the rubbish and graffiti from the buildings.