Hong Kong police on Wednesday arrested Lester Shum and Joshua Wong, two of the student leaders at the heart of pro-democracy protests that has been shaking the Asian giant since August. The police began swiftly clearing a major demonstration site. Reuters report:
Riot police scuffled with protesters trying to resist attempts to force them off the streets of the gritty Mong Kok district following clashes overnight, Reuters witnesses said.
Hundreds of protesters remained on Nathan Road, at the heart of the protest site in Mong Kok, brandishing yellow banners and chanting for “full democracy” in the former British colony, but were pushed back by the large number of police. After about two hours most of the protesters’ tents had been removed.
“You can’t defeat the protesters’ hearts!” screamed Liu Yuk-lin, a 52-year-old protester in a hard hat holding a yellow umbrella, the symbol of the protest movement, as she stood before lines of police in helmets and goggles.
Mong Kok has been a flashpoint for clashes between students and mobs intent on breaking up the protests, which have posed one of the biggest challenges to China’s Communist Party leaders since the crushing of a pro-democracy movement in Beijing in 1989.