By Christy Choi
HONG KONG (DPA) — Masked protesters attacked Hong Kong's legislative building in the early hours of Wednesday, a day after the relatively peaceful removal by police of some of the barricades set up by pro-democracy protesters.
"At about 1 am, [1700 Tuesday GMT] some protesters attempted to force their way into the LegCo Complex and caused damage to various parts of the building," police said.
Four men aged 18 to 24 were arrested for criminal damage and assaulting a police officer.
Eyewitnesses said several dozen people had charged the legislative compound and police used pepper spray and batons to contain them.
Morning sessions at the building were cancelled.
Dr Chan Kin-man, one of the two founders of the Occupy Central movement, said if public support was waning for the movement, the occupation of the streets may not be the best way forward.
He spoke after the Chinese University released a poll on Sunday showing that 67 per cent of Hong Kong residents in a survey said they wanted the protests to end.
Protesters have been blocking three main thoroughfares of the city for almost 8 weeks to demand reforms ahead of the 2017 general election.
The central government in Beijing has agreed to extend direct elections to all Hong Kong legislative seats but retained the right to pre-select candidates for the post of chief executive.
Hong Kong operates under a "one country, two systems" policy which grants freedoms to residents that are not given to Chinese citizens on the mainland.
It allows relative autonomy until 2047, as part of a joint agreement signed before the 1997 handover of the former British colony to Chinese rule.