Lawmaker ‘Long Hair’ among arrests after clashes at Hong Kong protest site – CNN

Police clash with pro-democracy protesters as they try to clear the street on Argyle Street in Hong Kong's Mong Kok.

Hong Kong (CNN) — Bailiffs began clearing a major pro-democracy protest site in Hong Kong’s bustling Mong Kok district Tuesday, triggering scuffles, arrests and a stand-off with growing crowds of protesters.

Pro-democracy activist and lawmaker Leung Kwok-hung, commonly known as “Long Hair,” was among those arrested, his office confirmed.

Hundreds of police were in attendance to support the bailiffs efforts to remove barriers from Mong Kok’s Argyle Street, between the junction of Tung Choi and Portland Streets.

The bailiffs were enforcing a court order obtained by a local bus company, following complaints by local residents and businesses that the protests have disrupted life in parts of the city for nearly two months. Police warned that anyone obstructing the bailiffs in their work would face contempt of court charges.

Numbers at the protest site swelled dramatically during the day, prompting police to issue a “final warning” to disperse at about 2:45 p.m. Scuffles then broke out, and a number of protesters could be seen being taken away by police.

When asked for comment, Hong Kong’s Police Public Relations Branch could not confirm the number of arrests, but local media said there were at least 10.

The Hong Kong Information Services Department said that two people were injured at the site.

Plans to relocate?

Earlier in the day, some protesters had said they planned to relocate peacefully to other protest sites in the city, while others said they respected the injunction but would remain at the site as long as possible.

Protesters calling for universal suffrage remain camped at a main protest site outside government buildings in Admiralty on Hong Kong Island, and at a separate site in Mong Kok, a busy commercial district in Kowloon.

As bailiffs announced their intention to clear the site, protesters joined in chants calling for universal suffrage and demanding the resignation of Hong Kong’s chief executive, C.Y. Leung.

Prior to leaving on a trip to South Korea Tuesday, Leung said he had confidence in police to handle the situation in Mong Kok, and said the government remained willing to engage in dialogue on political reform.

Universal suffrage

The protesters want to be able to nominate candidates for the election of the city’s chief executive in 2017. Instead, China’s National People’s Congress has said they’ll be able to vote from a shortlist approved by a pro-Beijing committee.

Currently, the chief executive is elected by a specially-appointed 1,200 member election committee.

At the peak of the protests in early October, tens of thousands of people were on the streets at three locations. But numbers have dwindled as the protests have continued, and local polling suggests support has dipped.

In a random survey of 513 people conducted by the University of Hong Kong, 83% said pro-democracy protesters should cease their eight-week occupation of major roads in Hong Kong, while just 13% said the protests should continue.

CNN’s Elizabeth Joseph and Vivian Kam contributed to this report.


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