Occupy: clashes between police and demonstrators near government offices
by Paul Wang
The police attack with water cannons, pepper spray, batons; students hurl bricks and bottles. At least 40 arrests. According to members of the government, the occupations are the cause of the fall of the stock market and the economic slowdown. Visas refused to British parliamentarians, interested in checking the Joint Declaration.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Heavy clashes between the police of Hong Kong and the pro-democracy student movement took place last night and in the early morning, when the young people of Occupy tried to surround the government offices in Long Wo Road.

 The road is near Admiralty, the central area of the protests and sit-ins that have been dragging on for two months, to demand real democracy for the territory. Beijing has guaranteed the right to vote for the entire population of Hong Kong, but will heavily control and vet all candidates for the post of Chief Executive. The territorial government is aligned to the positions of Beijing.

The clashes began last night around 9, when groups of students flocked to Long Wo Road. Police repelled them with water cannons, pepper spray and batons. According to police the students threw bricks and bottles and used sticks. There were injured on both sides and at least 40 young people were arrested. Today the government offices are closed and under heavy security.

The students action seems the result of heightened frustration: after two months of occupation, the government has failed to respond; Beijing has denied entry into China of some representatives who wanted to talk to the leadership; a lot of people - at least 68%, according to a survey - is of the opinion that the occupation must end. In the first weeks the students had received the support of hundreds of thousands of people.

Meanwhile, last week, the Supreme Court ordered the clearance of some areas of the city, in Mong Kok and among members of the government there are those who continue to blame the occupation for losses on the stock market and the economic slowdown, although the data does not clearly support this theoruy. The Secretary of Finance, John Tsang, said the Occupy movement has caused damage to the image of the city as an international financial center.

A group of British MPs, who wanted to reach Hong Kong, have been warned by the Chinese Embassy that Beijing would refuse them entry visas. The parliamentarians wanted to arrive in the territory for a verification of the Joint Declaration signed by Britain and China which led to the return of Hong Kong to the motherland.

According to the Joint Declaration, Hong Kong was to be guaranteed "large areas of autonomy" and a lifestyle characterized by the principle of "one country, two systems". According to the students and the whole movement of Occupy Central, the criteria established by China for the elections in Hong Kong betray this principle, increasingly absorbing the territory into China's one "system".