Taking Down The Barricades
Hundreds of Hong Kong police used sledgehammers and chainsaws to dismantle pro-democracy barricades near government offices and the city’s financial center on Tuesday, a day after clashes broke out as anti-protest groups tried to reclaim roads.
The police operation was the latest in two days to dismantle barricades after two weeks of protests, with the stalemate fuelling frustrations in the Asian financial hub and draining public support for the pro-democracy movement.
Police, criticized for using tear gas and batons in the first 24 hours of the protests, have adopted a more patient approach, counting on protesters to come under public pressure to clear some of the city’s major arteries.
Some of the city’s most powerful tycoons had warned prior to the protests that any moves to occupy the heart of the city could undermine Hong Kong’s stability. They have remained largely silent since the protests kicked off.
Tensions are expected to escalate further on Wednesday when taxi drivers, who say business has dropped by around 50 percent, have threatened to remove barricades if protesters have not cleared them by then. Taxi and truck drivers were among those who tried to dismantle barricades on Monday