Hong Kong to Clear Protesters From Streets

Post-it notes are seen on the 'Lennon Wall' at the Admiralty camp, occupied by pro-democracy supporters in Hong Kong on December 10. EPA/ALEX HOFFORD

By Christy Choi

HONG KONG (DPA) — Pro-democracy demonstrators at Hong Kong's main protest camp began packing up their tents early Thursday, as bailiffs prepared to take down the barriers.

Thousands had gathered overnight to say goodbye, but the camp was emptier in the morning, as protesters who did not wish to clash with police made their way out.

"We won't be here for when the police come," said Jason Ng, a 24-year-old recent graduate.

"My parents said: 'Don't get arrested. You will not have a good future.' But I didn't want to not show up because that also means I will not have a good future."

Ng had been at the camp for all 75 days of its existence, and said while this part of the movement may be coming to a close, he would continue the struggle for more democracy.

Protesters have been blocking the main road around the government offices on Hong Kong Island to try to force Beijing to re-think its proposal to vet candidates for the city's chief executive elections in 2017.

The blockage has bitterly divided the city, with older generations tending to side with the establishment, and younger generations more likely to favour the demonstrators.

Protest leaders and democratic legislators past and present sat on the roads awaiting the coming of police holding signs that read: "Stop Violence, Arrest Me."

Others vowed to take part in a more fluid form of occupation, that they are calling the "shopping revolution," which has been taking place in Mong Kok since the camp there was cleared on November 25.  

Protesters have been wandering the streets pretending to be shopping – a tongue-in-cheek response to the chief executive's call for people to go shopping and normalize life in the city.

The clearance is expected to take around two hours, said lawyers for the transportation company that applied Tuesday for the injunction to clear the roads.

Britain negotiated a "one country, two systems" principle as part of the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to Chinese rule. It grants freedoms to Hong Kong residents that are not given to Chinese citizens on the mainland, and allows Hong Kong relative autonomy until 2047.

 

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