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Hong Kong protests: Dozens arrested as sites demolished

 Police in Hong Kong say more than 80 protesters have been arrested during clashes, as operations to dismantle activist camps continue.

Police in Hong Kong say more than 80 protesters have been arrested during clashes, as operations to dismantle activist camps continue.

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Pepper spray was used to disperse crowds

 

The authorities, acting on court orders, are clearing part of the Mong Kok commercial district in Kowloon.

Overnight on Tuesday, protesters fought running battles on the streets around Nathan Road, with police using batons and pepper spray.

Police were seen detaining more people on Wednesday.

Yvonne Leung of the Hong Kong Federation of Students said leading student activists Lester Shum and Joshua Wong were among those arrested on Wednesday.

A total of 116 people have now been arrested since Tuesday, for offences including assaulting police, possessing offensive weapons and obstructing officers.

Tents torn down

The clearance operation in Mong Kok continued early on Wednesday as bailiffs, backed by police, began removing barricades.

A court has given permission for the Argyle and Dundas Street areas to be cleared following an injunction by a taxi company that argued its business was being disrupted.

Tuesday's clearance was the result of an injunction by a bus company.

On Wednesday, workers in red baseball caps and T-shirts that read "I [heart] HK" started dismantling wooden pallets and other materials after a warning was read out by the bailiffs.

Police officers wearing helmets are on the streets as well, tearing down tents and canopies. Other officers are standing by with backpack pepper sprayers, local media reported.

Anyone seen to be obstructing the process can be arrested for contempt of court, according to the injunction Hong Kong's South China Morning Post.

The activists have been on the streets since early October, demanding a free choice of leader in the 2017 election.

China, however, says the pool of candidates that people in Hong Kong will vote on will be selected by a Beijing-backed committee.

Protesters originally numbered in the tens of thousands when the Hong Kong unrest first began in October, but have since dwindled to a few hundred, while attempts by both sides to reach a compromise have made little progress.

Mr Wong, from the Scholarism group, had earlier said the court orders were being used as an excuse to remove activists, according to the Post.

Protesters complained that the bailiffs have not explained properly what the court order includes and what would qualify as "obstructing" their work.

Source: BBC

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