KONFRONTASI - Police in Hong Kong have used pepper-spray to stop protesters from blocking a major road near the office of the city’s leader.
Protesters rushed onto Lung Wo road next to the office of regional leader Leung Chun-ying early on Thursday, trying to move barricades and block the road.
Clashes broke out when the demonstrators, protesting an election law, scuffled with a number of police officers on the side of the road. Police then used pepper spray to disperse the protesters and arrested dozens of them.
The recent development came after reports of intensified clashes between protesters and Hong Kong police forces on Wednesday. Some police officers were filmed beating and kicking a handcuffed protester.
The government says it has launched an investigation into the incident, suspending several police officers for extensive use of force against the protesters.
The demonstrators first took to the streets on September 26 after China refused to allow open nominations for the region’s next chief executive in 2017, leaving voters with the only option of having to choose from a list of two or three candidates selected by a nominating committee.
Protesters have occupied parts of the city in recent days. They demand full authority to elect a successor to Leung, whom they want to resign. The Chinese government, however, has strongly condemned the protests, calling them illegal.
Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China. The financial hub has enjoyed substantial political autonomy since 1997, when its leadership returned to China after about a century of British colonial rule.[presstv]