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Barricades near Hong Kong govt. offices dismantled

Police remove a barricade at a protest site in Admiralty near the government headquarters in Hong Kong.   | Photo Credit: CARLOS BARRIA

Hong Kong police officers converged in strength on Tuesday to dismantle barricades created by student-led protesters near government offices, delivering a heavy blow to agitators seeking unqualified democracy in the former British colony.

The police also cleared the main road in Causeway Bay, a prime shopping district.

After the successful removal of the barriers, the focus is now expected to shift to Mong Kok — an area of mixed affluence where crowds opposed to the protests are also asserting themselves.

‘Not evicting protesters’

The police are making it clear that they are only pulling out obstructions to traffic and free movement of people and are not evicting protesters, who are being tacitly allowed to carry out their agitation, minus the barricades.

A police spokesman stressed at a regular press briefing that big obstacles would be removed in Mong Kok, so that partial, if not full traffic flow can be restored. He made it plain that the proposed action was not meant to clear protesters but to remove the barricades.

However, he warned students not to impede this process as they could then be arrested.

Opposition to protests

The calibrated moves by the police coincide with growing opposition among sections of the working class against the agitators.

On Tuesday, representatives of the Hong Kong Tramway Workers’ Union called for an end to the agitation, pointing out sharp drop in their earnings, because they are paid on an hourly basis, and suspension of tram lines has meant that they are unable to do overtime to supplement their incomes.

A coalition of truck drivers is also open to the forcible removal of barriers in Mong Kok and other parts of Hong Kong, despite Tuesday’s police action.

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Printable version | Dec 5, 2020 3:33:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/world/hong-kong-police-remove-protest-barricades/article6499066.ece

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