Last rem­nants of HK pro-democ­racy camp cleared

The China Post - - LIFE GUIDE POST -

The last rem­nants of the tent city that once blocked a ma­jor high­way through Hong Kong dur­ing mass pro-democ­racy protests were cleared away by city author­i­ties Wed­nes­day.

The camp of around 150 tents out­side the leg­is­la­ture — com­plete with flower pots, a study area and large col­or­ful ban­ners — was a fi­nal out­post of the for­mer Ad­mi­ralty rally site that was cleared in De­cem­ber.

The public protests over how Hong Kong chooses its next leader in 2017 were sparked by a rul­ing from Bei­jing last year that all can­di­dates must be vet­ted by a loy­al­ist com­mit­tee.

Cam­paign­ers de­rided the bill as “fake democ­racy” and tens of thou­sands of de­mon­stra­tors took to the streets to ob­ject.

The pro­posal was fi­nally voted down by pro-democ­racy law­mak­ers last week and many of those who had made the “Tim Mei New Vil­lage” camp their home pre­pared to move as po­lice in­di­cated a clear­ance was im­mi­nent.

By Wed­nes­day morn­ing, all that re­mained were some ram­shackle tents and piles of un­wanted be­long­ings, from so­fas and man­nequins to mugs, toys and slip­pers.

Dozens of gov­ern­ment

of­fi­cials moved in with brooms and saws to dis­man­tle the tents, while trucks waited to trans­port the de­bris away.

“The dead­line has ex­pired. I now an­nounce that of­fi­cers ... will ... re­move the per­sons, tents, mar­quees and other prop­er­ties,” an of­fi­cial an­nounced over a loud­speaker.

One male pro­tester car­ry­ing a yel­low um­brella — the sym­bol of the democ­racy move­ment — was seen by an AFP re­porter be­ing led away from a tent by what ap­peared to be plain clothes po­lice of­fi­cers.

Po­lice would not im­me­di­ately con­firm the man had been ar­rested.

A small group of protesters looked on through the grey morn­ing driz­zle and uni­formed po­lice also watched from the side­lines.

Some protesters said they dis­agreed with the clear­ance of what the author­i­ties said was an “illegal” camp.

“I feel very help­less — there are still a lot of is­sues at stake ... there’s no rea­son to clear it all,” said Qing Lam, in her 30s.

Benny Mok, 51, who works as a surveyor, said he had been at the site for 270 days and called the clear­ance “sup­pres­sion with­out rea­son.”

“(It is) a PR show to make it ap­pear we are dis­turb­ing the peo­ple,” said Mok.

But he added that the protests had gal­va­nized younger gen­er­a­tions.

“Youths are now be­com­ing more in­volved in po­lit­i­cal is­sues. You would have never imag­ined that in the past,” he said.

Hong Kong is semi-au­ton­o­mous af­ter be­ing handed back to China by Bri­tain in 1997 and has much greater free­doms than the main­land, but there are fears that those are be­ing eroded.

AP

Work­ers from the Lands Depart­ment re­move protesters’ be­long­ings out­side the gov­ern­ment head­quar­ters in Hong Kong, Wed­nes­day, June 24.

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