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Hong Kong Government HQ Temporarily Closed as Protesters Clash With Police

© REUTERS / Bobby YipA pro-democracy protester blocks a riot policeman during a clash outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong
A pro-democracy protester blocks a riot policeman during a clash outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong - Sputnik International
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The headquarters of Hong Kong’s government remained closed on Monday morning as thousands of pro-democracy activists clashed with police in a bid to expand the main protest site in Admiralty.

Policemen clash with pro-democracy protesters during a rally close to the chief executive office in Hong Kong, November 30, 2014 - Sputnik International
Hong Kong Police Clash With Protestors as Unrest Continues
MOSCOW, December 1 (Sputnik) — The headquarters of Hong Kong’s government were temporarily closed Monday morning amid ongoing clashes between thousands of pro-democracy protesters and police near the Admiralty Centre, Reuters reports.

"The government headquarters was paralysed this morning… to a certain extent, the goal of the action was achieved," said Alex Chow of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, as quoted by AFP.

Tensions in China’s semi-autonomous region escalated over the weekend. Riot police had to use pepper spray and batons to disperse protesters, who refused to leave the main protest site in Hong Kong.

"The atmosphere in Admiralty is very different now after the clashes last night," Jessica Lam, 20, told Reuters on Monday. "It has become very tense, like back to the early days when the protest just started," she stressed.

"I feel angry but there’s nothing we can do about it," said Justin Yan, 22, as quoted by AFP. "They (police) are supposed to protect the citizens, not (hurt) us. We saw what they did so we don’t trust them any more," the account clerk added.

Protesters protect themselves from being sprayed with tear spray during a confrontation with riot police at Mongkok shopping district in Hong Kong - Sputnik International
Nearly 30 Arrested in Hong Kong Protests: Reports
At least 40 people have been detained in the latest round of the months-long protests, according to local police. Leung Chun-ying, Taiwan’s current top official, has vowed that police will act resolutely from now on. "Some people have mistaken the police’s tolerance for weakness," he told reporters, as quoted by Reuters. "Now the (public) demand for police clearance is increasing. From now on, police will enforce the law without hesitation," he stated, as quoted by AFP.

The protests were sparked by Beijing’s decision to vet candidates, who will participate in the election for Hong Kong’s chief executive, scheduled for 2017. Activists claim it is an infringement on democracy. Hong Kong, which became part of China on July 1, 1997, is governed according to a "one country, two systems" principle. The 7-million region enjoys wide autonomy in all areas except foreign relations and defense.

In his latest remarks, Leung Chun-ying stressed that protesters will not achieve their goals. "I have pointed out before that Occupy Central is not only illegal but it will also be in vain," the chief executive said, referring to the ongoing protests as "intolerable", as quoted by AFP. Leung Chun-ying also urged activists, "who are planning to return to the occupation sites tonight not to do so," according to Reuters.

The demonstrations are estimated to have attracted as many as 100,000 people at the height of the protest movement. Although the protests have since lost their momentum, the activists have vowed they will continue their campaign unless their demands are met. Beijing has so far refused to make any concessions.

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