Thirteen people were arrested in Hong Kong while trying to storm the Legislative Council building (LegCo), authorities said yesterday, after protesters gathered outside of the city government headquarters over the weekend to rally against plans for a new town development in the northeastern New Territories.
On Friday, crowds of over 200 people, some of whom would lose their homes as a result of the development, used bamboo poles to try to force open doors to get inside of the building where LegCo’s Finance Committee had been due to vote on a 340 million HKD funding request linked to the plan.
According to SCMP, police used riot shields control the crowds until officers exited the building using pepper spray to force back protestors.
The decision had been postponed, making it the first time a meeting had been suspended due to security concerns since LegCo moved to its Tamar site in 2011.
According to Xinhua, 12 men and one woman, aged 19-39, were arrested for various offenses, including obstructing officials and assaulting police offers.
The government doesn’t plan on calling off the development despite protests, but says it welcomes public ‘discussion’ over the matter.
“Construction won’t begin until 2018. If anyone has any opinions or matters for discussion, we still have this time and space to discuss,” Secretary for Development Paul Chan Mo-po said on Saturday.
Government sources reportedly said that the attempt to storm the LegCo building could be a trial run by activists for the looming Occupy Central movement, a campaign threatening to really over 10,000 people to block the streets in the city’s central business hub if Beijing doesn’t open the election process in Hong Kong.