10/15/2014, 00.00
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Police in riot gear attack Occupy protesters

by Paul Wang
A video shows police beating a pro-democracy protester for 4 minutes. Human rights observers also attacked. 45 protesters arrested for "illegal assembly". Anti-Occupy protests grow.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Hundreds of police in riot gear attacked and wounded Occupy protesters and human rights observers, to clear the Lung Wo Road, close to the government offices. One pro-democracy activist, Ken Tsang Kin-chiu was beaten for at least 4 minutes as he lay prone and helpless in non-violent protest (See photo. For the video click here). He is currently being treated at Ruttonjee Hospital under the police supervision.

"I am really saddened by what the police did" - Tsang told the press. "If they wanted to arrest us, we would have accepted it, but I saw them deliberately beat up students and protesters. They fell upon a protester who had his hands raised, but the police said that he was provoking them, they dragged him into a corner and beat him up".

Members of the group Human Rights Monitor (HRM), wearing recognizable helmets and uniform to identify them, were among those attacked by police. The Director of HRM, Law Yuk-kai, argues that in doing so police have violated international agreements, which allow for human rights observers to attend protests.

The police have also arrested 45 people for "unlawful assembly". One of their spokesmen continues to maintain that the operation was to clear the road and not to put an end to the demonstrations. The police had already removed barricades yesterday, but overnight the young people of Occupy returned to continue their sit-in on the site.

For the past two weeks, students and pro-democracy groups have occupied different streets of downtown Hong Kong to demand real universal suffrage in the elections for the Chief Executive in 2017.  China has decreed that everyone will be allowed to vote, but it reserves the right to oversee the quality ("friends of China") and the number (only 3) of candidates to choose from.

Yesterday, police cleared a few lanes to allow traffic to transit on Queensroad and Causeway Bay, but there are still hundreds of protesters at Admiralty and Mong Kok. At the beginning of the protest, when police violently attacked a group of students, hundreds of thousands poured into the streets in support of Occupy.

 However, with the passage of time, many people - especially transporters, shopkeepers, taxi drivers, hoteliers - view the occupation as a threat to their jobs and have organized anti-Occupy demonstrations. There are also strong suspicions that these protests  - especially violence against young people in the sit-in - are being orchestrated by China and the Chinese mafia.

Occupy is calling for the governor of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying, to resign for failing to voice Hong Kongers desire for democracy to the Chinese government. Days ago he said he will not resign and that the movement will never change Beijing's mind.

China fears that the "virus" of democracy will spread to the continent. This explains the dozens of arrests of activists and supporters of Occupy Central. State media consistently speak of the pro-democracy movement as "illegal", and accuse it of being manipulated by "foreign powers" and of aiming to destroy "social harmony."


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