Protesters rebuild after HK protest site attacked
Protesters at main Admiralty site working feverishly to erect what resembled barriers around a medieval stockade
Pro-democracy activists reinforced barricades with bamboo scaffolding at the main demonstration site in Admiralty Monday night after anti-occupy protesters took some of the barricades away earlier in the day.
Hours after opponents of the Hong Kong Occupy movement removed some roadblocks at the main protest site, dozens of students built new ones, using bamboo poles, cement and metal chains.
An Anadolu Agency correspondent at the scene said that protesters at Admiralty were working feverishly to erect what resembled barriers around a medieval stockade - bamboo poles up to approximately six meters in length strapped to trashcans and crash barriers. Some poles were fixed to the road with mounds of quick-drying cement.
Police looked on as dozens protesters sat in front of the new barricades in Queensway Road, a two-minute walk from the main Admiralty site.
Hundreds of protesters gathered on the road, which previously had not seen much action. That changed Monday afternoon when two groups arrived at the scene and distracted protesters with insults while a third group wearing surgical masks took barriers away.
Two of the men were tackled to the ground by police, who also formed a cordon around the masked group.
Wilson Tay, a 31-year-old protestor at Admiralty, told AA that he saw many police and two trucks with equipment try to remove the barricades.
"One of the truck drivers tried to dismantle a barricade and was immediately surrounded by protesters," he said. "Around 30 police came and they were surrounded by around 100 protesters. The police took out their batons but did not use them. There were some scuffles and pushing but it was not too bad.”
Protesters, who were attacked ten days ago by organized crime gangs at Mong Kok - the other flashpoint rally site across Victoria Harbour - shouted: "Weapons! Weapons!" and "Arrest the triads!"
At the Mong Kok site, tensions rose Monday after a large group of middle-aged men and women surrounded the protest zone and argued with demonstrators.
Police intervened several times to keep the two sides apart.
In a statement released soon after, the protest movement - named Occupy Central with Love and Peace - said that it understood that the current situation might have caused inconvenience to "our fellow citizens,” but asked its members to stand firm in defending their area, and support each other.
"We also ask you to stand by the principle of non-violent disobedience in face of the police's clearance,” it added. "We believe that the success of the movement hinges on our perseverance in the spirit of democracy, love and peace."
A man at Admiralty - who would only give his name as Lai - told the South China Morning Post that he would not leave until the roads were reopened.
"They are blocking the way of taxis and trams and because of them materials for construction sites around this area cannot be delivered," he said.
Meanwhile, banners carried by taxi drivers read: "Give us back our roads, protect our business."
Occupy added in its statement that although two weeks had now elapsed since the movement had made its presence felt, "the administration has produced no serious responses."
It called on the government to not just stop removing the barricades, but also the fundamental barriers which it said were the cause of the present crisis - "the collusion of political and business interests and small circle monopoly of the legislature and the office of the Chief Executive [who protesters see as a puppet of China]."
The area under the control of protesters in both Mong Kok and Admiralty shrank after police took away barriers in 27 locations early Monday.
Police appeared relaxed and the occasional heckler was drowned out by protesters singing Happy Birthday at them – a recurring tactic used by protesters to neutralize anti-protest hecklers whom the students mostly view as government lackeys.
In Mong Kok, anti-Falun Gong banners had been erected overnight. Beijing says Falun Gong is an evil cult.
The protests started when Chinese leaders ruled that Hong Kongers could choose their next chief executive in the 2017 elections but that candidates would have to be approved by Beijing first.
The protests, now in their third week, are seen as the biggest challenge to Beijing's control over the former British colony since the handover in 1997.
Last Modified: 2014-10-14 08:30:31
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