A group of around a dozen pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong stormed the city’s legislature in Admiralty early this morning, resulting in clashes with officers equipped with pepper spray and batons.
The move came hours after bailiffs began clearing out part of a key protest site in Admiralty following an injunction ordered by the high court. Protestors didn’t resist and some even gave authorities a hand when clearing away barricades.
It’s the first time these protestors have broken into a key public building, and a turning point in the protests’ recent spell of calm.
The small group of protestors charged toward the legislature, using metal barricades and concrete tiles to smash through a side door, according to Reuters, citing witness accounts.
About 100 riot police with helmets, batons and shields stood guard outside the government building in the early hours of Wednesday, facing off with protesters who are demanding free elections for the city’s next leader in 2017.
“Police retreat!” the protesters chanted.
Scores of riot police, some with shields and helmets, rushed over, using pepper spray and batons to keep other demonstrators from also smashing their way in.
Police raised red signs warning protesters to stay back as the activists held up a wall of umbrellas to defend themselves against the pepper spray.
By 3:00 a.m., crowds of protesters had gathered around the scene, many of whom were wearing masks and protective goggles, SCMP reported. Some of them said they were angry to see bailiffs removing barricades around CITIC Tower in Admiralty on Tuesday.
Around 4:30 a.m., officers pulled out pepper spray and baton-charged the crowed after another clash. Many protestors were soon forced to retreat.
Police took away at least three people, according to the Post. A LegCo meeting and Public Works Subcommittee meeting scheduled for today was canceled hours after the standoff.
[Images via Apple Daily]