Hong Kong student leader banned from cleared protest site

Hong Kong protest leader Joshua Wong was Thursday banned from a flashpoint protest site where he was arrested this week during clashes when authorities moved in to clear the pro-democracy camp.

AFP| Updated: Nov 27, 2014, 15:07 PM IST

Hong Kong: Hong Kong protest leader Joshua Wong was Thursday banned from a flashpoint protest site where he was arrested this week during clashes when authorities moved in to clear the pro-democracy camp.

Some 150 protesters were taken into custody when authorities tore down barricades and tents in Mongkok district, in a major blow to the movement that has paralysed part of the city for nearly two months.

Wong, aged just 18 but a key figure in the movement calling for free elections for the city`s leadership, said he has been banned from the area -- one of three protest sites -- for two months as part of his bail conditions.

He has been charged with obstructing the work of police officers. 

"I can`t go to the Mongkok area before January 14. I feel mystified," he told reporters outside the city`s Kowloon City Magistrates` Court.

His lawyer Michael Vidler told the court that the "motivation for this prosecution is political".

Both he and Wong were pelted with eggs as they left the courthouse, as tensions run high in the southern Chinese city over the future of the struggling pro-democracy movement.

Protesters have been calling for full democratic reforms that would allow them to choose who to run for the city`s top post. Beijing says all candidates to become Chief Executive must be vetted by a loyalist committee.

The protests on a few occasions drew tens of thousands of people onto the streets.

But the crowds have dwindled markedly in recent weeks as the movement has struggled to maintain momentum and commuters have grown weary of transport disruptions.

A main road in Mongkok was reopened Wednesday following a two-day operation that saw chaotic scuffles between police and protesters. 

Mongkok, a major shopping district on the Kowloon peninsula, has been the scene of some of the most violent clashes since the sit-ins began at three separate intersections in the city on September 28.