Hong Kong police have detained several student leaders after 24 hours of clashes, as they ramp up efforts to end pro-democracy protests in the Chinese territory.
Following a night of skirmishes in Mongkok that saw police use pepper spray on protesters, officers on Wednesday arrested Joshua Wong and Lester Shum, two of the leaders. Over two days of operations to clear parts of the district – one of the two main democracy protest sites in Hong Kong – police have arrested 116 people.
On Wednesday, bailiffs cleared an occupied area on Nathan Road, a popular shopping street for Chinese tourists in Mongkok, following an injunction brought by a taxi company. On Tuesday, thousands of police helped the bailiffs remove protesters from an occupied block on Argyle Street just yards from an H&M store.
Student leaders complied with an order on Tuesday to dismantle a stage on Argyle Street. But when the bailiffs returned after the deadline, protesters refused to leave, prompting the police to intervene. As protesters were pushed out of the occupied block, they poured into nearby streets, setting the stage for overnight clashes.
While the Umbrella movement – named as such after protesters used umbrellas to shield themselves from tear gas – initially attracted widespread support, residents have become increasingly tired of the disruption. A recent poll found that more than 80 per cent of respondents believe that the protesters should leave the streets.
In Mongkok on Wednesday, one middle-aged woman opposed to the protests, urged the students to clear the streets. “What’s the point of occupying these streets for so long? Don’t they (the protesters) have work to do?”, asked the woman.
周二晚，在旺角地区采取清理行动时，警方与抗议者不时发生小规模冲突，警方动用了胡椒喷雾。周三早上，警方逮捕了两名学生领袖黄之锋(Joshua Wong)和岑敖晖(Lester Shum)。旺角是香港民主抗议活动两个主要场所之一。在对这一地区持续两天的清理行动中，警方已逮捕116人。