Occupy Hong Kong activists removed from HSBC's Asia headquarters

Reuters News
Posted: Sep 11, 2012 3:34 AM
Occupy Hong Kong activists removed from HSBC's Asia headquarters

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Police cleared a few remaining Occupy Hong Kong protesters from an open-air plaza beneath HSBC's Asian headquarters on Tuesday, nearly a year after the anti-capitalists pitched their tents in the heart of Hong Kong's financial district.

HSBC obtained permission from a court last month to take back the space after the activists remained beyond an eviction deadline on August 27. At around midday, officers entered the plaza and linked arms to form a human wall around the dozen or so protesters to move them out.

Workers pulled down the tents and removed furniture, carpets and personal belongings, drawing angry cries from demonstrators beneath the dramatic 47-storey building, famous for its natural lighting and lack of any internal supporting structure.

Echoing the global Occupy movement against corporate greed and economic inequality, the Hong Kong encampment attracted a commune of occupiers including students, young professionals, activists, the unemployed and homeless.

The protest came at a time of growing resentment in this city of 7 million at what many see as excessively close ties between government and big business, but it failed to gain traction.

The number of occupiers had dwindled from the 100 or so who had first pitched tents, paling in significance to the tens of thousands who have taken to Hong Kong's streets this year to protest against everything from perceived Chinese meddling in local affairs to high property prices.

Hong Kong university students started a brief boycott of classes on Tuesday, reiterating demands for the government to withdraw a course on patriotic Chinese education in schools, instead of just making it voluntary.

Hong Kong voted for a new legislature on Sunday, a day after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying backed down from a plan for compulsory patriotic Chinese education, a policy that drew tens of thousands of people to a 10-day protest.

Leung emerged the big winner, his allies holding their seats as pro-democracy groups failed to capitalize the protests against China-linked policies.

Protesters of the Occupy New York movement were removed in November, while those in London were evicted in June.

(Reporting By Sisi Tang; Editing by Anne Marie Roantree and Nick Macfie)