China

Protesters clash with police at Hong Kong legislature

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionA group of protesters broke into the parliament building

Clashes have taken place between Hong Kong police and a small group of protesters who tried to break into parliament early on Wednesday.

Protesters used metal barricades to break down a side door at the Legislative Council building (Legco).

The incident happened hours after bailiffs and police peacefully cleared a section of the main protest camp.

Protesters calling for full democracy have occupied three key sites in Hong Kong for nearly eight weeks.

The BBC's John Sudworth in Hong Kong said that this latest incident was a reminder that the overwhelmingly peaceful protests can still turn ugly.

Dozens of young protesters, some wearing masks, tried smashing in the door shortly after 01:00 local time. Some reportedly managed to enter the building.

Riot police warned protesters to stay back, using red flags, and later used pepper spray to push them back.

There were repeated attempts by protesters to enter the building throughout the night, but they appeared to retreat by daylight.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The clashes broke out shortly after 01:00 local time
Image copyright AP
Image caption Protesters tried smashing in the door with concrete slabs, metal objects and rocks

Democratic lawmaker Fernando Cheung, who was among a group of people who tried to stop the protesters, told Reuters that it was "a very, very isolated incident" as the movement had been peaceful so far.

Student leader Lester Shum, from the Hong Kong Federation of Students, told AFP: "It's not something we like to see... We call on occupiers to stick firm to peaceful and non-violent principles and be a responsible participant of the umbrella movement."

The police said they arrested four people, while three officers were injured.

Some protesters said that they attempted the break-in because they were angry about the earlier clearance of part of the main protest site at Admiralty.

Others expressed frustration at the lack of progress. One told reporters: "The government is not listening. It keeps on having meetings every day. The rubbish legislators keep on talking rubbish. It's meaningless, and because of the injunctions some barricades were cleared. If the revolution fails because of injunctions it cannot be called a revolution."

Tuesday's clearance in front of Citic Tower came after the building's owners were granted an injunction by the high court.

An injunction has also been granted for the clearance of roads at the Mong Kok protest site. The South China Morning Post says hundreds of police are on standby to clear that site as early as Thursday. A third protest site remains at Causeway Bay.

The protesters have been on the streets since early October to demonstrate against a decision by China to screen candidates for Hong Kong's 2017 leadership election. Numbers were originally in the tens of thousands but have fallen to a few hundred.

Hong Kong and the Beijing government say the protests are illegal, and there is growing public frustration with the disruption to traffic and business.

Police operations to clear and contain the camps in recent weeks have sometimes led to clashes. An earlier attempt to clear an underpass near Admiralty led to accusations that police had used excessive force, after a video emerged of officers apparently beating a protester.

Hong Kong democracy timeline

  • 1984: Britain and China sign an agreement where Hong Kong is guaranteed "a high degree of autonomy, except in foreign and defence affairs" for 50 years following the handover in 1997.
  • June-July 2014: Pro-democracy activists hold an unofficial referendum on political reform and a large rally. This is followed by protests by pro-Beijing activists.
  • 31 August 2014: China says it will allow direct elections in 2017, but voters will only be able to choose from a list of pre-approved candidates. Activists stage protests.
  • 22 September 2014: Student groups launch a week-long boycott of classes in protest.
  • 28 September 2014: Occupy Central and student protests join forces and take over central Hong Kong.
  • October 2014: Chief Executive CY Leung refuses demands for his resignation. Discussions between government and student leaders go nowhere. High court begins granting injunctions to clear protest sites.
  • 15 November 2014: Student leaders' attempt to travel to Beijing fails.
  • 18 November 2014: Bailiffs move in to clear a portion of the Admiralty protest site.
  • 2017: Direct elections for chief executive due to take place

Q&A: Hong Kong's democracy controversy

Are you in Hong Kong? Are you taking part in protests? You can share your experience by emailing haveyoursay@bbc.co.uk

Send your pictures and videos to yourpics@bbc.co.uk or text them to 61124 (UK) or +44 7624 800 100 (international).

Or comment below.

Your contact details

If you are happy to be contacted by a BBC journalist please leave a telephone number that we can contact you on. In some cases a selection of your comments will be published, displaying your name as you provide it and location, unless you state otherwise. Your contact details will never be published. When sending us pictures, video or eyewitness accounts at no time should you endanger yourself or others, take any unnecessary risks or infringe any laws. Please ensure you have read the terms and conditions.

Terms and conditions

Related Topics