Hong Kong police cleared more barricades today from pro-democracy protest zones that have choked off traffic in key business districts for more than two weeks, signaling authorities' growing impatience with the student-led activist movement. Appearing to use a strategy of gradually chipping away at the three main protest zones, hundreds of police used chainsaws, sledgehammers, and bolt cutters to take down barriers made of bamboo and other materials that the protesters had erected overnight in the Admiralty area after a few dozen masked men stormed some of the barricades the day before.
By gradually reducing the protest areas from the edges and acting during the quiet morning hours, the police appear to want to avoid the sort of combative confrontation—using tear gas and pepper spray—that backfired two weeks ago, when the street protests started. But at the main protest zone outside Hong Kong's government headquarters, a tent city has sprung up as dozens of demonstrators camp out to defend the highway they've taken over. Many say they won't budge. "No one knows how long this will last. I'm not afraid of the police and I will fight to the end," says a 24-year-old man who quit his job to join the movement. (Read more Hong Kong stories.)