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Last Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protest Site Dismantled

  • VOA News

A passerby walks past tents, before they are removed, outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong, China, June 24, 2015.

A passerby walks past tents, before they are removed, outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong, China, June 24, 2015.

Hong Kong officials have dismantled the last of the tent camps from last year's mass protests that unsuccessfully pushed for democratic reforms in the Chinese territory.

Protesters put up little resistance as a crew of government officials moved in Wednesday to clear the few tents, banners and other materials that remained at the outpost outside the territory's legislature.

"I feel calm. I am already missing this place, because in the past 200 days or so we witnessed history and the change of an era," said 71-year-old protester Simon Wong. "Here we have seen a lot of emotions, a lot of tears, a lot of sweat, a lot of human kindness, but we have also seen a lot of conflict."

At the height of the protests, which began last September, tens of thousands of demonstrators took to Hong Kong's streets to push for a change in how the way the territory elects its leaders.

After a failed attempt by police to dismantle the protesters with tear gas and pepper spray, authorities allowed the protesters to remain, but eventually dismantled the bulk of the protest sites in December.

Beijing refused to give in to protesters' demands that a fully democratic vote be allowed for Hong Kong's chief executive in 2017. Instead, it passed legislation insisting all candidates be screened by a committee made up mainly of mainland loyalists.

Hong Kong's legislature last week vetoed the measure, thanks to opposition lawmakers who viewed the reforms as a plan for "fake democracy." As it stands now, the territory's leader will continue to be elected by a 1200-member election committee.

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