KONFRONTASI - The police in Hong Kong have begun the removal of street barricades set up by anti-election law protesters who have been rallying in several districts of the city for the past two weeks.
Police authorities said on Monday that they aim to clear blockages to traffic rather than bring an end to the protest rallies.
The development came while unruly scenes broke out at the main Occupy Central protest site in Hong Kong on Monday after hundreds of people opposing the protest camps tried to tear down the barricades set up by the opponents of the local government.
Earlier in the day, police officers clashed with demonstrators that were attempting to erect more barricades, arresting several of the protesters.
Police officers established a human chain to separate the protesters and ordinary people determined to break up their three-week long occupation of a major business area near the city's financial center.
Numerous individuals, some reportedly wearing surgical masks, were observed shoving away protesters and demanding that authorities remove the barricades and clear the roads.
Local media outlets reported that some people identified as taxi drivers, transport industry workers and others not affiliated with any groups, were heard shouting at protesters, accusing them of damaging their livelihoods.
The renewed scuffles broke out shortly after a stern declaration by the regional Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying that there will be a zero chance that Beijing would change its election regulations.
The protesters demand that China withdraw its decision to handpick candidates for Hong Kong’s 2017 election.
China has said it will introduce universal suffrage for the 2017 Hong Kong election, but wants a committee to approve the candidates.[presstv]