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Hong Kong protest leader banned from demo sites

November 27, 2014

Hong Kong protest leader Joshua Wong has been banned from a flashpoint site on Kowloon Peninsula that has been cleared by police. Dozens more people face charges for their role in weeks of protests.

Joshua Wong, leader of the student movement, pauses as he talks to reporters outside the government headquarters office in Hong Kong October 9, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Image: Reuters/C. Barria

One of the leaders of recent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, Joshua Wong, was released on bail on Thursday after being banned from areas of the city that have been cleared of protesters by police.

Wong, 18, who is a key figure in the movement calling for free leadership elections in the city, is facing charges of obstructing a police officer.

He has denied all charges, and his lawyer Michael Vidler told the court that the "motivation for this prosecution is political."

Wong said he had been ordered to stay away from the Mong Kok commercial district, one of three protest sites in the city, for two months under his bail conditions.

Altogether some 31 defendants were brought to trial on Thursday, all of whom were banned from the same protest site, according to Vidler.

Major flashpoint

The Mong Kok district saw the worst clashes between demonstrators and bailiffs trying to clear the protest sites, which have paralysed part of the city for nearly two months.

Protesters set up the sites on September 28 in response to an announcement by China in late August that all candidates at a 2017 election to choose a Chief Executive of the former British colony must first be vetted by a committee full of Beijing loyalists.

Some 150 protesters have been taken into custody since Tuesday as authorities tore down barricades and tents in Mong Kok in a two-day operation.

All the main protest sites were mostly calm early on Thursday, following a few clashes overnight between demonstrators and police.

The number of protesters, which at the outset of protests sometimes reached the tens of thousands, has dwindled markedly in recent weeks as the pro-democracy movement struggles to maintain momentum.

tj/nm (dpa, AFP)