23 February 2019
There is no vehicular traffic as people occupy Nathan Road amid a civil disobedience campaign. Photo: AFP
There is no vehicular traffic as people occupy Nathan Road amid a civil disobedience campaign. Photo: AFP

Civil disobedience offensive clogs main streets

The Occupy Central civil disobedience campaign has swiftly spread to clog several main arteries on Hong Kong island and in Kowloon.

Tens of thousands of students and citizens occupied Central and Admiralty districts as the movement was officially launched early Sunday, mainly on Connaught Road Central and Tim Mei Avenue close to the government headquarters.

By Sunday night, the pro-democracy movement has spread to Hennessy Road in Causeway Bay and Nathan Road which links Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday.

In Causeway Bay, the Hong Kong Federation of Students put up barricades and called on demonstrators to stage a sit-in in front of Sogo department store.

Although there were sporadic clashes, policemen put away their clubs at about 3 a.m. Monday.

There were more than 10,000 protesters in Mong Kok at 1:30 a.m., according to Apple Daily.

Amid the chaos, some trucks were seen bringing supplies to the protesters. The drivers then occupied the streets with their trucks.

Police, estimated to be 7,000 strong, fired tear gas at protesters at eight sites where clashes were intense.

According to the Hospital Authority, 26 people were in need of hospitalization.

The tear gas action was the first since 2005 when police tried to disperse South Korean farmers protesting at the venue of the World Trade Organization ministerial conference in Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong Federation of Students, which launched a five-day class boycott last week, called on citizens to leave at 10 p.m. on Sunday and asked the police to make way.

Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, the former Catholic bishop, and Chan Kin-man, a co-organizer of Occupy Central, also urged citizens to leave. However, there were still many citizens in stand-offs with the police after midnight.

Commissioner of Police Tsang Wai-hung said at a press conference on Sunday noon that the demonstration was illegal and the situation would get worse if it continued on Monday. He did not say when police would begin a clear-out.

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