HK protester smashes his way into legislature

First clear act of violence by demonstrators; illustrates split in 'pro-democracy' movement – one side pacifist, other more confrontational

HK protester smashes his way into legislature

World Bulletin / News Desk

Around a dozen pro-democracy protesters used barricades and concrete tiles to try and smash their way into the Hong Kong legislature early Wednesday, in what is being seen as a major event in the eight-week-old "Pro-democracy" demonstrations.

One protester managed to briefly squeeze between the broken reinforced glass to enter the Legislative Council building, local television news broadcasts showed. 

Protesters had rammed the panel with heavy steel fencing for minutes before the glass final gave way enough to allow the demonstrator to pass through. He then quickly exited.

Police, some with shields and helmets, then arrived on the scene and engaged in a standoff with protesters. During that face-off, both sides on occasion charged the other. 

Police used pepper spray and batons against the demonstrators.

It was the first clear act of violence by demonstrators and illustrates a split in the pro-democracy camp in the city – one side pacifist, while the other advocates a more confrontational approach.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Fernando Cheung is seen in a video of the event trying to stop the protesters ramming the panel before being pulled away by a demonstrator supportive of the action.

Protester's opinion on the morning's events were split Wednesday – some were angry at the “radicals” action; while others defended the action given that authorities had failed to offer concessions after more than 50 days of street blockades.

Student leaders were more measured in their comments. Joshua Wong, the convener of Scholarism, said student leaders would not condemn the protesters' action 

“Although we have the same goal as them - democracy - we have disagreements over methods,” he said.

Alex Chow, secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, said the government had pushed protesters to this stage, but added, “Non-violence is our biggest weapon.”

Police said they arrested four men, aged 18 to 24, on charges including criminal damage and assault, after the attack on the building.

The demonstrations are seen as the biggest challenge to Beijing's grip on the former British colony since the handover in 1997.

Last Mod: 19 Kasım 2014, 09:48
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