29 February 2020
A policeman deals with a protester during a dispersal operation marred by violent clashes. Photo: AFP
A policeman deals with a protester during a dispersal operation marred by violent clashes. Photo: AFP

Police use force in road clearance near govt headquarters

Police used pepper spray in an early-morning operation to clear a road near government headquarters, public broadcaster RTHK reported Wednesday.

Clashes erupted between officers and a group of protesters wearing masks and googles. The demonstrators had occupied Lung Wo Road since the night before.

Thirty-seven people were arrested, including eight women, while others moved to Tamar Park where a standoff with riot police continued, the report said.

Four policemen and several protesters were hurt in the clashes. Two TV cameramen were also injured.

By 6 a.m., Lung Wo Road had been open to traffic, three hours after the operation began.

Crowds began arriving in Lung Wo Road Road Tuesday evening and by 11 p.m., about 2,000 had gathered in the area, blocking all four lanes in both directions.

At one point, the policemen were trapped inside a tunnel and were forced to retreat to an area next to the Chief Executive Office.

Meanwhile, the Legislative Council is scheduled to reopen Wednesday, with Chief Secretary Carrie Lam expected to give a report to the chamber.

Some of the protesters said their snap occupation of Lung Wo Road was meant to challenge the government to respond and was unrelated to the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) and student activist group Scholarism, which have been spearheading the mass protest.

The protesters chanted slogans calling for the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. They threatened to storm his office.

HKFS vice secretary general Lester Shum said the Lung Wo Road protest had nothing to do with his group and called on its participants to express their views in a peaceful manner.

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Dozens of officers move on the occupiers of Lung Wo Road. The operation began at 3 a.m. and the road was reopened three hours later. Photo: Youtube

Protesters began their occupation of Lung Wo Road Tuesday night and were dispersed six hours later by police using pepper spray. Photo: Facebook