Hong Kong Students Surround Government OfficesPosted: November 30, 2014
Police Use Pepper Spray, Batons to Stop Protesters’ Advance
HONG KONG—Isabella Steger, Biman Mukherji and Phred Dvorak reporting: Police deployed pepper spray and used batons to push back thousands of protesters trying to block government offices, the latest escalation of the pro-democracy movement that entered its third month with no signs of resolution.
“We will continue our fight for democracy. We will keep up the pressure on the government.”
— Oscar Lai, a spokesman for Scholarism
The Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism, the two groups leading the demonstrations, called on crowds assembled at a protest site to surround the central government offices and the office of the chief executive, the city’s top official, aiming to block government workers from entering Monday morning. Early Monday, police beat back the crowds and cleared the road outside the chief executive’s office. At least 40 people were arrested, police said.
The HKFS stressed that protesters should stay peaceful and not use force. The student groups asked protesters to bring umbrellas, goggles, masks, food supplies and helmets to Sunday’s assembly, to protect themselves in case police responded with pepper spray or tear gas.
After the call to surround the government offices, protesters filled the roads around the complex where the buildings and Hong Kong legislature are located, skirmishing in some areas with police who used pepper spray and batons to stop their advance.
Local TV stations showed scenes of bleeding protesters and police handcuffing demonstrators. Some protesters erected barriers in the streets surrounding the government offices—the first new move to take territory by demonstrators in months—but the barriers came down after police cleared the area.
In a statement posted on the Hong Kong police website before the action started, police spokesman Kong Man-keung warned that “if anyone obstructs police duties, uses violence to attack police lines or tries to surround the government headquarters, police will certainly decisively enforce the law.”
Student leaders were defiant…. (read more)
—Gillian Wong contributed to this article