Occupy activists forced from Hong Kong plaza
Protesters scuffle with police as they are removed from area outside banking giant HSBC in city’s financial district.
Police have forced out the remaining Occupy protesters from an open-air plaza at banking giant HSBC’s Asian headquarters in Hong Kong, more than ten months after the activists pitched their tents in the heart of the city’s financial district.
The protesters scuffled with police on Tuesday, as they resisted a court order to leave the site by August 27. Some were carried away forcibly and taken outside a perimeter, where they were let go.
At around midday, officers entered the plaza and linked arms to form a human wall around the dozen or so protesters to move them out.
Authorities pulled down the tents and removed furniture, carpets and personal belongings, drawing angry cries from demonstrators beneath the iconic 47-storey building.
HSBC obtained permission from a court last month to take back the space, which the bank owned but that also serves as a public passageway.
Echoing the global Occupy movement against corporate greed and economic inequality, the Hong Kong encampment attracted a commune of occupiers including students, young professionals, activists, the unemployed and homeless.
The protest came at a time of growing resentment in the city of seven million at what many see as excessively close ties between government and big business, but it failed to gain traction.
Since they started on October 15 last year, the number of occupiers had dwindled from the 100 or so who had first pitched tents, paling in significance to the tens of thousands who have taken to Hong Kong’s streets this year to protest against everything from perceived Chinese meddling in local affairs to high property prices.
Hong Kong university students started a brief boycott of classes on Tuesday, reiterating demands for the government to withdraw a course on patriotic Chinese education in schools, instead of just making it voluntary.
Hong Kong voted for a new legislature on Sunday, a day after Leung Chun-ying, the city’s chief executive, backed down from a plan for compulsory patriotic Chinese education, a policy that drew tens of thousands of people to a 10-day protest.
The protesters’ counterparts in New York were removed from Zuccotti Park in November, while those in London were evicted last June.