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Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 08:50

Police clash with violent mob at LegCo after clearing of barricades

By Kahon Chan and Timothy Chui in Hong Kong
Police clash with violent mob at LegCo after clearing of barricades
Court bailiffs clear barricades set up by “Occupy Central” protesters outside the CITIC Tower in Admiralty on Tuesday. (Parker Zheng / China Daily)

Police struggled to restore order outside the Legislative Council (LegCo) complex in Admiralty after an angry mob smashed a glass door and broke into the building in the early hours of Wednesday.

Dozens of masked activists had attempted to block access to the LegCo complex and take over Lung Wo Road late on Tuesday evening. The protesters were venting their anger at the clearing of barricades outside CITIC Tower earlier on Tuesday.

The incident turned violent after midnight as a handful of the demonstrators smashed a glass door at the entrance of the LegCo building. Others threw bricks at a glass facade and, reportedly, broke into the complex.

The situation was briefly brought under control when riot police used pepper spray against the aggressive activists.

The LegCo clash happened after emergency routes outside CITIC Tower in Admiralty were cleared without incident on Tuesday morning. This is the first area to be recovered from ongoing illegal occupation protests which have gone on for more than 50 days.

Judicial bailiffs dismantled barriers around the office towers shortly before 10 am as “Occupy Central” protesters left the area immediately around the office building, relocating tents and several barriers to adjacent protest sites surrounding the Central Government Complex.

Nearby roadblocks remain in place with protesters refusing to clear connecting roads, forcing two-way traffic onto one-way lanes.

Residents’ fear

Residents and businesses near occupation zones are concerned displaced protesters will move into their neighborhoods after demonstrators began to relinquish occupied areas .

Two injunctions, awarded to transport companies to clear Argyle Street blocked by protest sites, remained to be enforced on Tuesday. The main road in Mong Kok will likely be the next to be cleared. The intersecting thoroughfare, Nathan Road, could be cleared by Thursday at the earliest — pending a further ruling by the High Court.

While the small band of protesters around CITIC Tower selectively observed legal orders to clear the office block’s vicinity after the court’s explicit backing for police enforcement, protesters at large showed little thought to packing up their nearly two-month illegal action.

Nick Yeung, a 24-year-old student preparing for his university exams, joined the protests at the start of the campaign. Yeung said he would follow the remaining crowd of occupation protesters to the protest site in Admiralty after they left Mong Kok.

A 50-year-old shoemaker, surnamed Chong, who works in Jordan, a busy commercial and residential district south of Mong Kok, hoped the protesters would not move into his neighborhood.

“The protesters should go home after almost two-months of ruining lives and not invade Jordan,” Chong said. He said he hoped the government and police could protect the rights of ordinary citizens.

Yau Tsim Mong District Councilor Hui Tak-leung said he received a tip two weeks ago that protesters might begin to encroach on Jordan.

He said fellow councilors were ready to help neighbors and shop owners in taking legal action against occupiers if they moved into their areas.

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Luis Liu and Shadow Li contributed to the story.

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