Police arrest 209 protesters

HONGKONG’ S main thoroughfare in the heart of the financial district was finally re-opened late Thursday night, drawing to an end the 75-day Occupy Movement (佔領運動) protest.

A total of 209 protesters were arrested during the clearance of the main Occupy protest zone in Admiralty (金鐘), which lasted more than 12 hours. But defiant protest leaders warned, “We will come back.”

The westbound lanes of Harcourt Road (夏愨道) were opened shortly after 9pm, with the entire multi-lane highway reopening by 10.45pm.

Federation of Students (學聯) secretary-general Alex Chow Yong-kang (周永康) and Labour Party (工黨) lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan (李卓人) were among the last to be arrested, shortly after 9pm. Federation general-secretary Eason Chung Yiu-wa (鍾耀華) and committee member Nathan Law Kwun-chung (羅冠聰) were also arrested, together with pan-democratic lawmakers Claudia Mo Man-ching (毛孟靜), Albert Ho Chun-yan (何俊仁), Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung (張超雄) and Cyd Ho Sau-lan (何秀蘭).

A police sergeant was admitted to the intensive care unit of Ruttonjee Hospital (律敦治醫院) in critical condition after fainting while taking a break.

In the early morning, thousands of police – armed with helmets, shields, batons, pepper spray and with mobile platforms at the ready – were deployed from various points to begin the clearance of the multi-lane Connaught Road (干諾道) – Harcourt Road – Gloucester Road (告士打道) stretch.

Violence was avoided as most activists left the protest zone before police began the clearance. Defiant students and pan-democrats said it was not the end of the movement but the start of a new phase of a mass movement aimed at genuine universal suffrage.

About 100 activists, student leaders and pan-democrats had positioned themselves on the corner of Harcourt Road and Tim Wa Avenue (添華道) well before the clearance began.

“Civil disobedience! Leung Chunying (梁振英) step down!” was the rallying cry as activists were arrested by officers one-by-one.

“Democracy now! We will be back! For the future, for Hong Kong!” shouted lawmaker Mo as she was arrested.

Many of those arrested were carried in a lying position through a makeshiftguard of honour” of police officers to waiting police vans.

(The Standard, Staff reporters, 12 December, 2014)