Hundreds of Hong Kong police officers set out early Tuesday morning to clear major city blockades erected by pro-democracy protestors, allowing traffic through the Queensway park for the first time in two weeks.
The police officers came armed with heavy steel shearers and chainsaws and began removing the barricades, which had been fortified by the protestors with everything from cement to bus stop signs, and ushering the protestors into side streets.
— Natasha Khan (@natashakhanhk) October 14, 2014
Actions to stop the protestors have largely failed—and just as the use of tear gas spurred sympathy for the cause, the barrier-removal project elicited further support for the occupy movement. Many middle class residents of the area left their homes to help the protestors fortify their blockades, or at the very least cheer them on.
The police have mostly left protest camps untouched, as their actions are purportedly serving public safety and convenience, not the upheaval of the protest. Many private citizens who support the reopening of major highways helped the police deconstruct the barriers. While many were truck and taxi drivers (with a few gang “triad” members sprinkled in the mix for good measure), most were ordinary citizens exasperated by the blockades.
As of this afternoon, the Queensway traffic is flowing freely, and the police are bringing in reinforcements to discourage protestors from having a sit-in in the middle of the causeway.
Click here for more news about the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.
Photo from SCMP
By Briel Waxman