Police arrest Hong Kong protesters

Tensions flare after a period of calm as small group of demonstrators break into legislature building.

    Protesters in Hong Kong are demanding free elections for the city's next leader in 2017 [AFP]
    Protesters in Hong Kong are demanding free elections for the city's next leader in 2017 [AFP]

    Hong Kong police have arrested four men as tensions once again flared after a small group of protesters broke into the city’s legislature through a side door.

    The arrest on Wednesday came a day after court bailiffs managed to clear part of a protest camp in the heart of the city that has been occupied by demonstrators for nearly two months, while leaving most of the main protest site intact.

    About 100 riot police with helmets, batons and shields stood guard outside the government building in the early hours of Wednesday, facing off with protesters who are demanding free elections for the city's next leader in 2017.

    "Police retreat!" the protesters chanted.

    Hong Kong protesters mark 50 days of action

    It was the first time protesters had broken into a key public building, defying the expectations of many political analysts who had predicted that Hong Kong's most tenacious and protracted protest movement would slowly wind down.

    The escalation came in the early hours of Wednesday when a small group of protesters charged towards the legislature and used metal barricades and concrete tiles to ram a glass side door. They eventually smashed through, with several managing to get inside, according to witnesses.

    Fernando Cheung, a lawmaker, said he and other protesters had tried to stop the small group of radical activists from breaking through. "This is a very, very isolated incident. I think it's very unfortunate and this is something we don't want to see happen because the movement so far has been very peaceful," he said.

    Hong Kong was returned to China from British colonial rule in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula that gives the city more autonomy and freedom than the mainland, with an eventual goal of universal suffrage.

    The protesters are demanding open nominations in the city's next election for chief executive in 2017. Beijing has said it will allow a vote in 2017, but only between pre-screened candidates. 

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.