12/15/2014, 00.00
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Hong Kong, no more occupied site. Catholics "will keep the fight for democracy"

by Victoria Ma
The Occupy Movement's last occupied site of Causeway Bay, a business and shopping district, was cleared by police today. Yesterday PIME fr. Franco Mella presided the Mass: "Don't be upset. We should have hope, like John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus Christ".

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The Occupy Movement's last occupied site of Causeway Bay, a business and shopping district, was cleared by police today (Dec. 15), the 79th day of the Movement. The clearance marked the end of all street blockades that lasted for two-and-a-half months since Sept. 28.

At Causeway Bay, the police have arrested more than 10 protesters who refused to leave the site before the deadline. Among them were Catholic legislator Kenneth Chan Ka-lok of Civic Party, a protester from Beijing and an elderly aged 90.

Earlier, Chan told the press that he had been with the occupiers in Causeway Bay over the past weeks, and felt responsible for them and wanted to accompany them at the clearance and the arrest.

Some protesters shouted at the scene "We will be back" and urged Chief Executive CY Leung to step down.

Last night, thousands of people and Chinese tourists continued to visit the site in Causeway Bay. Many took pictures of the place decorated with artistic work, paintings and banners, especially made for this Occupy Movement. Protesters set up a forum for people to freely speak about democracy.

Yesterday afternoon, local Catholics held a Sunday Mass at the site of Causeway Bay. It was the first Mass there, but the last one in all occupied sites. Since Sept. 28, on every Sunday at Admiralty and later Mongkok, Masses were held until both places were cleared in recent days.

PIME Father Franco Mella presided the Mass in Causeway Bay yesterday. He told AsiaNews Dec. 14 that he did not regard the clearances as indications of failure for the Occupy Movement. "Instead, I see God among the people, and we bring God into the occupied sites."

Father Mella told participants not to be upset: "We should have hope, like John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus Christ." More than 120 faithful attended the Mass yesterday. Some Catholics shared their experiences during the Mass.

Chung, who was arrested at the Admiralty clearance on Dec. 11, said: "That day, I was sad, and felt powerless. We used peaceful means to fight but were oppressed. We were fighting for the right to nominate our Chief Executive, but could do nothing. As a Catholic, I could only pray to the Holy Spirit to help me. I was arrested at 7 pm and was released after a bail at 5 am the next day. I thanked God for keeping me healthy these days. God is with us."

Another faithful who stayed in Mongkok site said: "Together with the Protestants, we held prayer meetings, worships and Masses at the make-shift St. Francisco's Chapel in the occupied site of Mongkok. In this way, we give witness and glorify Jesus." Another faithful added: "Though the chapel was demolished, the spirit of solidarity and democracy remains in our hearts."

A Catholic youth said: "I am thankful to God for giving us the conscience to discern good and evil. We need to stand up and safeguard the freedom of our place."

"We are of one heart to demand democracy and true election in Hong Kong. I now understand that peace and non-violence can be a means of struggling for intrinsic values of justice and democracy," a Catholic teacher said.

A protester told the press that occupiers, coming from different walks of life in Hong Kong, have shared the same ideal for Hong Kong and worked together for over 70 days. "We all cherish this experience and will continue the movement though the places are cleared," she noted.

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