At least 74 protesters were arrested today in Hong Kong, after the conclusion of this morning one week student strike to demand more democracy in the coming local elections that caused clashes between police and youths occupied the square in front of the headquarters of Local Government. Joshua Wong, 17 and one of the strike leaders, was arrested in night riots and has been denied bail, but so far the Hong Kong’s authorities have not specified what the charges against him are.
About a thousand people today still concentrated near the Civic Square, outside the headquarters of the Hong Kong Executive leading fenced three months from an earlier demonstration. Many of them had come after hearing the events of last night, in which riot police officers arrived to use pepper spray to disperse the demonstrators. According to law enforcement, in its heyday, the concentration reached last night to reach 5,000.
In a terse press release, the Government of Hong Kong expressed his regret for the occupation of the government compound and claimed that security personnel, police officers and protesters were injured overnight. In all, the detainees have 13 and 61 during the early morning along the rest of the day.
Social networks exploded with indignation and surprise comments and photos of police officers with full riot gear confronted demonstrators who protected themselves with umbrellas and water bottles.
The musician Edmund Leung, 50, who joined demonstrators after midnight, asked: ” Why the police force to which the shields, if all you guys have done is to restore a supposedly public square? “
The pro-democracy leaders of civil movement Occupy Central (OC), teachers and Benny Tai Chan Kin -man and Reverend Chu Yiu -ming, joined the protesters Saturday morning. The OC heads, whose objectives coincide with those of the students had tried to keep their distance from them to avoid possible manipulation reviews youth. OC threatens to convene a series of sit-ins in the financial district of Hong Kong to demand electoral reform to allow universal suffrage and completely free in the next elections in the former colony in 2017.
“We believe the police have used unnecessary force to suppress student protest this morning. Strongly condemn this action not only violates the code of police conduct, but also interferes with the freedom of expression of citizens, “said OC in a statement.
According to the electoral reform that Beijing announced on August 31, the next head of the local government may be elected by universal suffrage after being proposed by an electoral college of 1,200 notables, mostly representatives and business interests linked to the central government. Opposition parties and said they will veto this reform, which has not responded to the demands of OC and the student movement to allow free nomination of candidates in local elections. Hong Kong is governed since 1997 under the slogan “one country, two systems”, which means greater freedom for the former colony as the rest of China.
Unlike Occupy Central, more moderate and merely requires the free nomination of candidates and their vote by universal suffrage, the student movement this week emphasized the importance of self-determination of Hong Kong, in addition to the need to break an oligarchic political system. Both pro -democracy groups agree, however, that is unlikely to achieve the goal of greater short-term political freedom. Therefore considered important to leave a legacy of greater civil awareness in a city not used to street movements.
OC, which had lost steam since Beijing submit his proposed reform on August 31, has hinted he may convene the first sitting on 1 October, to coincide with the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.