HK police remove Occupy barricades in Mong Kok

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-10-17 9:09:12

Hundreds of Hong Kong police officers removed barricades in Mong Kok, one of the main demonstration areas, Friday morning where Occupy movement participants had blockaded roads and streets from Sept. 28.

The police started the operation at around 5:00 a.m. local time, catching the protesters by surprise who were still sleeping. The officers removed tents, bamboo and other makeshift barricades before protesters could make any resistance.

The Occupy area in Mong Kok is across the Victoria Harbor from the main demonstration areas near the region's government headquarters in Admiralty and commercial area in Causeway Bay.

The northbound lane of main thoroughfare Nathan Road was freed up to traffic at 8:00 a.m. local time when most of the tents and steel fences erected by protesters have been removed. While the southbound lane of the busy road remained occupied by protesters.

Police Senior Superintendent Catherine Kwan said the operation was carried out smoothly and peacefully, brining Mong Kok residents' lives back to normal. She called for the protesters to leave.

One bank branch in Nathan Road reopened and ATM services nearby have largely resumed. Shop owners were happy with the traffic resumption, with a drug store owner saying they have lost more than 80 percent of sales since the Occupy movement began, local media reported.

Tensions had been tightened in the city with a few clashes broke out between police and the protesters in the past few days after several police officers were seen kicking a hand-cuffed protester brutally in a video clip on Wednesday.

Hong Kong Secretary of Security Lai Tung-kwok told the legislators on Friday that he did not agree with the accusation of police abusing their power when dealing with the Occupy demonstrations. He stressed that they are decisive and impartial.

The police has been treating the protesters with the highest toleration, while individual incidents should not affect the assessment of the force, Lai said, referring to the allegation of officers beating the protester.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Thursday announced resumption of talks with representatives of Federation of Students, one of the major organizers of the movement, seeking to ease the standoff between students and the government.

Thousands of protesters, most of whom are students, joined the Occupy Central movement to express their discontent with a framework set by China's top legislature on electing the region's next leader through universal suffrage.

According to Hong Kong Basic Law and top legislature's decisions, more than 5 million Hong Kong voters could have a say to who will become the Chief Executive in 2017 by the "one man, one vote" election, which had never been realized under the British colonial rule.

Posted in: HK/Macao/Taiwan

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