Police and protesters clash in Hong Kong
HONG KONG: The pro-democracy protesters clashed with police Tuesday night while trying to take control of a tunnel and a large avenue of Hong Kong, where protesters blocked sites for over two weeks for election by universal suffrage.
Dozens of police, wearing riot helmets and shields, tried to corner hundreds of protesters at a tunnel entrance, according to images broadcast on television. One or two of demonstrators were hit with batons and tear gas was sprayed.
“We decided to take this route in retaliation after police evacuated another path blocked without warning,” said Jeff Wong, 30. “The government refuses to talk to us, so we will continue to occupy the streets until we get a real dialogue,” he added.
As the police withdrew, protesters began placing metallic inside the tunnel barrier, blocking the same time the traffic on this route, which runs from east to west near government buildings, and which does had never been occupied before.
Braving the Chinese rule, the protesters are demanding to freely elect the next chief executive of Hong Kong in 2017, when the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), fearing a protest contagion on its territory, intends to retain control over the electoral process.
Blockages in place since September 28 have disrupted activity in Hong Kong and the daily lives of more than seven million people in this landlocked semi-autonomous territory in the far south of China, which is experiencing its worst political crisis since its handover to China in 1997.
Slingers “movement umbrellas” accessory they wear, were first attracted public sympathy, but traffic jams, congestion, public transport, closure of schools and businesses have grown weary.
Sometimes violent clashes also against demonstrators in men suspected of being the big guys triads, accused by the pro-democracy movement of acting at the behest of the authorities.
In an effort to reduce the area of land in the hands of protesters, hundreds of police began on Tuesday to destroy the steel pile, plastic and wood built on two of the three sites occupied by protesters.
Police warned that it would soon be the turn of Mongkok in mainland Hong Kong, to be covered by decommissioning.
In Causeway Bay, a popular shopping area of luxury Chinese tourists, about 150 officers dismantled at dawn some barricades while allowing the protesters to remain in their camp. The evacuation operation led to the opening of a lane towards the city center to the west.
Hours later began the dismantling operation in Admiralty, near the seat of government, on the eve of the first stage of police efforts to destroy barricades. Dozens of masked men suspected to be thugs triads, armed with knives, had also sprung up to try to clear the site, a wide avenue cut in the middle by two streetcar tracks.
The protesters did not resist these police operations. Some of them were in tears. “We’re leaving because we do not have the means to resist, but we will not abandon,” the police launched a young woman to tears.
A leader of the protesters, Alex Chow, president of the Student Federation of Hong Kong, came to support the irreducible Causeway Bay, calling the chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, with protesters demanding the resignation to the talks.
A poll released Tuesday by the University of Hong Kong showed that the popularity of the head of the local executive had fallen since the end of September from 2.6% to 40.6%, the second lowest rate since coming to power in 2012.