HONG KONG —
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the territory's occupy protests are over, but activists say they will return after police cleared the last of the demonstration sites following more than 10 weeks of protests.
Speaking with reporters Monday, Leung said the "illegal occupation activities" have come to an end, but only after they had caused "serious" economic losses in the tourism and retail sectors.
He made the comments as police removed the final encampments on a short stretch of road in Causeway Bay and arrested more than a dozen people who refused to leave despite repeated warnings. There were no reports of violence.
A small group of protest leaders chanted "We will be back" and called on Leung to step down.
Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Kenneth Chan was among those arrested at Causeway Bay Monday. He told VOA before his arrest that the activists should have nothing to fear.
"We have a sense of justice, of mission. Actually those people who should have fear are Leung Chun-ying and his people in power. They should fear so many Hong Kong citizens who come forward, to the front, through to the end," said Chan.
Causeway Bay was the smallest of three main protest sites that formed in late September to demand that Beijing allow fully democratic elections in Hong Kong in 2017. China has said all candidates must pass through a screening process and has refused protester demands.
The Mong Kok protest site was cleared late last month and the largest gathering, in Admiralty area near government headquarters, was broken up last week.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997. As a semiautonomous Chinese territory, its citizens still enjoy many freedoms not allowed on the mainland.
This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Cantonese service.