World Bulletin / News Desk
Hong Kong police have arrested over 500 protesters who staged a pro-democracy sit-in at the city's business district.
Police said that the demonstrators were arrested for illegal assembly and obstructing police officers.
It was described as the city's largest democracy rally in a decade when tens of thousands of protesters marched on Tuesday following a sit-in.
The rally was to demand full electoral freedom, marking the day Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997.
Hundreds of protesters staged a sit-in in the city's Central district after the main march had ended.
"All of us here fight for democracy, fight for universal suffrage," said protester Edward Fung.
Police said the sit-in was "unauthorised" and began removing some of the participants in the early hours of Wednesday.
Agencies report that some activists were kicking and screaming as policemen were trying to remove them, where as other protestors linked arms and legs in an attempt to stop police as well.
Police said a total of 511 demonstrators - 351 men and 160 women - were arrested in the operation to clear the area.
The human rights organisation's Hong Kong director Mabel Au said the protest was a "peaceful and legitimate protest under international law".
"The police action was hasty and unnecessary and sets a disturbing precedent," said Ms Au.
On Tuesday morning, Hong Kong leader CY Leung said that the government was trying hard to forge a consensus on political reform.
"Only by maintaining Hong Kong's stability can we sustain our economic prosperity. Only by sustaining Hong Kong's prosperity can we improve people's livelihoods," Mr Leung said.
Pro-democracy activists want Hong Kong people to be able to elect the city's leader, known as the chief executive. Where as China has said it will introduce universal suffrage for the city's 2017 election - but wants a committee to approve the candidates.
An unofficial referendum on how to choose Hong Kong's next chief executive was made in June and drew approximately 800,000 votes.
The Chinese government has described the referendum as an "illegal farce". The Hong Kong government said the 10-day referendum had no legal standing.Last Mod: 02 Temmuz 2014, 13:34