Police to clear main Hong Kong protest site
Police will clear Hong Kong's main pro-democracy protest camp on Thursday and urged demonstrators not to resist, after more than two months of rallies for free leadership polls brought parts of the city to a standstill.
Hong Kong: Police will clear Hong Kong's main pro-democracy protest camp on Thursday and urged demonstrators not to resist, after more than two months of rallies for free leadership polls brought parts of the city to a standstill.
But some protesters have said they are determined to stand their ground until their demands are met, as they have failed so far to wring any concessions out of the authorities in Hong Kong or Beijing, which have branded the demonstrations "illegal".
Bailiffs will clear parts of the Admiralty protest site covered by an injunction order on Thursday morning, and the police will then move in to dismantle the rest of the camp, which sprawls across a multi-lane highway that runs through the heart of the business district.
"After assisting bailiffs with the execution of the injunction order on Thursday, we will remove other obstacles on the carriageways and pavements," along the main stretch of the protest site and surrounding roads, assistant commissioner of police, Cheung Tak-keung, told reporters.
The aim is to reopen roads to traffic, he said.
Cheung asked protesters to leave in a "peaceful and orderly manner" and said police would take "resolute action" to clear those who resist, warning members of the public to stay away from the site Thursday.
"We are left with no other alternatives but to resort to minimum use of force if there are confrontations caused by the protesters," he added.
A High Court ruling published today called for the clearance of three sections of the main Admiralty protest site, but the police action will go beyond those parameters.
"I think if they clear the whole of Admiralty, because the injunction is only for one area, people are going to react violently," one 27-year-old protester who gave his name as Alex told AFP.
"I don't agree we should leave without getting any progress."
Recent violent clashes have sparked fears that radical splinter groups will dig in for the final stage of the occupation of main roads in parts of the city.
Protest leader Alex Chow of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) told AFP that occupiers would remove barricades from the injunction zones to avoid action from bailiffs and police.
He added that HKFS would "stick to non-violent principles" in the face of any police swoop.
Frustrations boiled over at the end of November when protesters and police clashed outside government headquarters, leaving dozens injured on both sides.
That prompted the leaders of the Occupy Central campaign group to hand themselves in to police in a symbolic move to get the protests off the streets.