Hong Kong police to clear last protest site

Police say protesters occupying a 90-meter stretch in Causeway Bay have time to pack belongings before action is taken Monday.

Hong Kong police to clear last protest site
World Bulletin/News Desk
Hong Kong police have announced plans to clear the third and final pro-democracy protest encampment Monday, as the historic two-and-a-half-month demonstrations that have blocked traffic in the Chinese territory come to an end. 

Police spokesperson Steve Hui told a press conference Saturday that protesters still occupying a 90-meter stretch of road in the district of Causeway Bay had enough time to pack their belongings and leave before action is taken.

"I now urge the illegal road occupiers to remove obstacles, take away personal belongings and leave the area in a peaceful and orderly manner soonest," he said. "If the illegal road occupiers refuse to leave, police will take action to disperse them."

Protesters have been occupying Yee Wo Street in the shopping district for 77 days.

The night before, hundreds gathered at the site, festooned with banners, posters and photographs calling for democracy, to make yellow paper origami umbrellas – the symbol of the movement after protesters’ use of umbrellas to defend themselves against pepper spray.

They discussed how to push for democracy in the former British colony.

A computer programmer in his thirties who declined to be named out of fear of retaliation told The Anadolu Agency, “even though we expect this place to be cleared soon, we will be back to continue our fight for freedom against the Chinese communist party."

On Thursday, authorities tore through the main protest camp in the city's Admiralty district, home to many government office buildings.

Some 249 people who refused to leave were arrested for unlawful assembly.

Around 909 others who left the site later than the 2.20 p.m. (6.20 a.m. GMT) deadline set by police had their personal details recorded.

Police have arrested around 900 people since the demonstrations began at the end of September.

The demonstrators had been calling for a fully democratic election with open nominations for the territory's next leader, the chief executive, in 2017. The Chinese government says it will allow "one man, one vote" suffrage but that candidates will have to be approved by a body loyal to Beijing.

While the demonstrators have so far failed to win any concessions, protest leaders said they would continue campaigning even after the sites had been cleared.    

Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula that promised a high degree of autonomy from Beijing, including universal suffrage.

The protests, which involved more than 100,000 people at their peak, were seen as one of the most serious challenges to China's authority since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests that ended with a bloody crackdown in Beijing.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 13 Aralık 2014, 15:13