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Hong Kong Authorities Clear Protest Site, Arrest 80

Hong Kong authorities arrested 80 people while clearing street barricades at a site where pro-democracy demonstrators have camped for nearly two months.

Bailiffs, backed by dozens of police, removed the obstructions early Tuesday from Argyle Street in the Mong Kok district.

The protesters did not initially resist, and instead stood nearby yelling at police.

Argyle Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong
Argyle Street, Mong Kok, Hong Kong

Activist Leung Kwok-hung, a pro-democracy member of the legislative council, told VOA the morning went as expected and planned.

“Basically, it was in a peaceful situation that [occupiers] negotiated with the police and bailiffs, which basically is in line with our strategy of peaceful resistance," Leung said.

But some later obstructed the police, who began taking dozens into custody, including Leung.

It is the second time in as many weeks that authorities have acted on a court order to clear parts of the protests.

Local media said officials are planning to clear a larger section of the Mong Kok demonstration site, near Nathan Road, on Wednesday.

Protesters losing momentum

The protests have shrunk in recent weeks, and organizers are struggling to find ways to reenergize the so-called Occupy Movement.

The three co-founders of the movement say they plan to surrender next month to authorities, who have declared the protests illegal.

Several recent public opinion polls suggest the protests are beginning to lose public support.

The demonstrators have been calling for fully democratic elections in 2017.

They took to the streets after China ruled in August that all candidates for Hong Kong's chief executive must first be approved by a committee that is stacked with pro-Beijing loyalists.

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