Hong Kong activists clash with police, 4 arrested

19-Nov-2014 Intellasia | AP | 1:43 PM Print This Post

Tension spiked at democracy protests that have gripped Hong Kong for nearly two months as police arrested four men early Wednesday after a small group of activists tried to force their way into the city’s legislature in overnight clashes.

The arrests came hours after authorities enforced a court order to clear some barricades from a small section of a site occupied by pro-democracy activists.

Police used pepper spray, batons and riot shields against the umbrella-wielding protesters wearing masks, goggles and hardhats, who they said repeatedly charged their cordon and injured three officers.

The protesters used metal barricades and concrete slabs to smash glass doors at the legislature before officers police rushed in to push them back.

Police officers stand guard at a main entrance after protesters tried to break into the Legislative Council in Hong Kong early Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014. Protesters clashed with police early Wednesday after they tried to break into Hong Kong's Legislative Council building. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Pro-democracy lawmaker Fernando Cheung tried to intervene but was pulled aside by some protesters.

Cheung told reporters that he saw one person enter the building.

The violence apparently involved protesters who organized their action through an Internet forum known to attract people with radical views. The clashes underscore mounting frustration for some as the movement drags on for more than 50 days with no end in sight, though student leaders immediately distanced themselves from the violence.

“We can’t agree with the reason for taking this action,” said Joshua Wong, the 18-year-old leader of Scholarism, one of two student groups leading the protests.

Cheung and other pro-democracy lawmakers condemned the violence, saying it undermined the non-violent civil disobedience movement.

The student-led democracy protesters reject restrictions laid down by Beijing on inaugural 2017 elections for the southern Chinese financial hub’s top leader. But the students have been fighting to maintain momentum as the Hong Kong government appears to adopt a strategy of standing by in hopes it fizzles out.

The students’ requests to talk to China’s communist leaders in Beijing have been rebuffed and three student leaders were prevented from flying to Beijing on the weekend to try to contact the officials directly.

Authorities are expected to enforce a separate court order later this week requiring removal of some barricades from a second protest site in the Mong Kok district.




Category: Hong Kong

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