Hong Kong authorities clear part of Admiralty protest site

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe BBC's Karishma Vaswani spoke to a protester as the site was cleared

Court bailiffs in Hong Kong have cleared part of a pro-democracy protest camp in the Admiralty district.

The bailiffs, backed by police, dismantled barricades outside Citic Tower after the building's owners complained about the disruption and were granted a high court injunction.

The student protesters did not resist the clearance, and many helped to remove tents and fences.

The high court has also authorised the clearance of the Mong Kok site.

A third protest camp remains at Causeway Bay.

The activists have been on the streets since early October to protest 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.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionReaction as some of the protest site is cleared
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The authorities moved in after a court granted an injunction from Citic Tower's owners to clear the area

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

'We will go elsewhere'

The BBC's Karishma Vaswani in Hong Kong said the scene at Admiralty on Tuesday appeared calm on Tuesday morning, with many students saying they would not get in the way and police standing by but not acting.

But they said the peaceful demolition of one part of the camp did not mean the end of their protest, and that they would remain on the streets until their demands were met.

Prominent student leader Joshua Wong told the BBC that they would not resist as long as the authorities only cleared the area mentioned in the injunction. Mr Wong said if the authorities headed to other sites, activists would be "very disappointed".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Protesters have helped workers to remove barricades at the Admiralty site

Garment worker Jason Fung told the South China Morning Post: "We'll just go protest somewhere that the injunction doesn't cover."

The high court has also granted an injunction to taxi and minibus associations to clear the roads in Mong Kok, where on Tuesday protesters had also begun packing up.

More requests have been lodged by bus companies to clear other roads affected by the protest sites.

Police operations to clear and contain the camps in recent weeks have sometimes led to clashes.

An attempt to clear an underpass near Admiralty led to accusations that police had used excessive violence, after a video emerged of officers apparently beating a protester.

At the weekend, a group of student leaders were prevented from travelling to Beijing, where they had hoped to seek an audience with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, after their travel permits were declared invalid.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionJohn Sudworth: ''The students arrived at the airport accompanied by around 300 supporters''

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