12/12/2014, 00.00
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Police arrest and later release 247 Occupy protesters who pledge to continue the struggle

by Victoria Ma
After a night in jail, pan-democrat legislators and Student Federation secretary are released. Although they refused to post bail, they were freed unconditionally. A few diehard remain in in Causeway Bay; for them, "The clearance of occupied areas cannot extinguish the fire of democracy."

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Hong Kong police arrested 247 protesters during the final clearance of the Admiralty protest site yesterday. All were released early this morning.

Some, including the 15 pan-democrat lawmakers and Alex Chow, secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, refused to post bail but were released unconditionally later. However, police said they reserved the right to prosecute.

The arrest of 15 legislators at a peaceful and non-violent sit-in was making history in Hong Kong, said Alan Leong, legislator of Civic Party.

Several Catholic pro-democracy activists, including Democratic Party founder Martin Lee, were among those arrested and later released.

After his release, student leader Alex Chow said that he urges the public to boycott the second consultation on Electoral Reform and launch other non-cooperation actions.

At the occupied area of Admiralty, signs and artworks left by protesters remain as barricades were removed and traffic resumes.

A "Lennon Wall" at the occupied zone, where the public freely expressed their views about democracy, was scrubbed clean by workers. However, the views posted on the wall have been stored up and might be displayed in future.

Benny Tai, an organiser of the Occupy Movement, praised the occupiers' insistence on peace and non-violence, shown yesterday at the clearance when they were waiting to be arrested.

Tai reiterated that if the government does not react positively to the public demand for genuine democracy, the public might start another round of struggle.

As the 75-day occupation comes to an ends, Joshua Wong, leader of the Scholarism student group, said they had no plan to launch a new move of civil disobedience but that they would continue to call for dialogue with the government on the issue.

Regarding the clearance of the last occupied area at Causeway Bay, a tourist and business area, police may take actions next week.

Yet, "The clearance of occupied areas cannot extinguish the fire of democracy," said diehard protesters who moved from Admiralty to Causeway Bay last night.

Similarly, a protester from mainland China said he hoped someday this kind of struggle for democracy could happen in the mainland.

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