Hong Kong police hauled away demonstrators who refused to leave the main pro-democracy protest camp today and tore down their tents in a final push to retake streets occupied by pro-democracy activists for two and a half months. The first person arrested was carried away by four officers by her arms and legs. The students and other activists have been protesting Beijing's restrictions on the first election for Hong Kong's leader. Many protesters had heeded police warnings to leave the protest zone in Hong Kong's city center, but dozens of students, pro-democracy lawmakers, and others, including middle-aged and elderly supporters, remained.
The students at the front lay down and locked arms. As the clear-out neared, protesters chanted, "I want universal suffrage" and tossed pieces of paper that read "We will be back." Student groups that played key roles in organizing the protests had called for supporters to stay until the last moment but not to resist authorities. "If the government wants to use police to clear the site, don't forget, the clearance can't resolve political conflicts, it can't resolve society's dilemma," said Joshua Wong, the 18-year-old head of the Scholarism group and the pro-democracy movement's most prominent leader.