Hong Kong police closed some roads in the Central district Wednesday after clearing them of protesters who were staging a sit-in following a huge pro-democracy rally the previous day.
Student activist groups Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism announced in the late hours of Tuesday, after over half-a-million people took to the street in the annual July 1 march, a civil disobedience action to occupy Chater Road in Central for eight hours.
The call was answered by nearly 8,000 citizens, who decided to join in a rehearsal for the planned Occupy Central blockade, Apple Daily reported.
On Wednesday morning, authorities closed Chater Road and Jackson Road to traffic and advised motorists to avoid driving to the affected areas.
Occupy Central Movement founder Benny Tai showed up at Central on Tuesday night and said he was very proud of the students. He said the students have said explicitly that they will move out at 8 am on Wednesday, and therefore the police need not do anything.
Tai warned that if the police use violence, it could have serious political consequences.
In clearing up the scene, the police removed demonstrators, including an 80-year-old male surnamed Wong, in the early hours of Wednesday. When Wong was put on a wheelchair, he was cheered on by other demonstrators. Wong said he came out because he was touched by the students’ bravery, the report said.
After giving repeated warnings, police cordoned Chater Road and started removing hundreds of protesters who staged a sit-in at around three in the morning. As at 6:30 am, a total of 196 protestors had been arrested, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.
Earlier a police spokesman, Senior Superintendant Patrick Kwok, said the sit-in was illegal and the participants could face prosecution. He said the police’s duty is to uphold the law and maintain public order and safety. The sit-in was causing traffic congestion in the district, he said, adding that the police would take resolute action to deal with the illegal assembly.
– Contact us at [email protected]