10 Dec Hong Kong protesters say 'We'll be back' as police swoop looms

Written by AFP Published in Regional Read 1513 times
Tommy Cheung (2-L) of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), Alex Chow (L), leader of HKFS, Joshua Wong (R), leader of secondary school student group Scholarism and Oscar Lai (2-R) of Scholarism are seen at a press conference at the Admiralty camp, occupied by pro-democracy supporters of Occupy Central and the Umbrella Movement for over two months, as seen on the final day before the Hong Kong police and bailiffs intend to clear the major six lane highway back to normal, Hong Kong, China, 10 December 2014. EPA/ALEX HOFFORD Tommy Cheung (2-L) of the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), Alex Chow (L), leader of HKFS, Joshua Wong (R), leader of secondary school student group Scholarism and Oscar Lai (2-R) of Scholarism are seen at a press conference at the Admiralty camp, occupied by pro-democracy supporters of Occupy Central and the Umbrella Movement for over two months, as seen on the final day before the Hong Kong police and bailiffs intend to clear the major six lane highway back to normal, Hong Kong, China, 10 December 2014. EPA/ALEX HOFFORD

Hong Kong (AFP) - An air of tired resignation hung over Hong Kong's main pro-democracy protest site on December 10 as demonstrators braced for a police clearance after more than two months of rallies, but bright new posters declared "We'll be back".

Police will clear the Admiralty camp on December 11, opening traffic once more on a multi-lane highway through the heart of the business district that has become home to tents, supply stations and artwork by student-led protesters calling for fully free leadership elections.

Authorities have asked protesters to retreat and have said they will take "resolute action" against those who resist in what they say is a bid to restore public order.

Student leaders are also encouraging non-violence.

"We will not call for a new round of occupying, we'll wait and see what the government will do to meet public opinion," said student leader Mr Alex Chow.

Beijing says that candidates in the leadership elections in 2017 will have to be vetted by a loyalist committee, in what protesters have dismissed as "fake democracy".

And new art around the Admiralty site, which has become a creative hub during the protests, made clear the movement was not over.

In trademark humour for the occupied site, an alien doll wearing goggles and a yellow cape was tied to a sign-post with a shield that read: "Whoever clears me out will be afflicted with stubborn disease until death."

Bailiffs will start implementing injunction orders from 9:00 am (0100 GMT) on December 10 to clear parts of the site before police dismantle the rest, authorities have said.

Tens of thousands rallied at Admiralty at the height of the protests, but public support for the road blockages has waned as the weeks have worn on.

Protesters told of their sadness at the lack of political concessions from Hong Kong or Beijing, who branded the demonstrations illegal.

"To be honest, we failed this time. Having slept on the street for two months, we haven't achieved anything," said 28-year-old theatre worker Karen Ho. "But at least we saw how ugly and ridiculous our government can be."

Others said they were still determined to prove their point.

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