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HK police dismantle barricades on 16th day of Occupy Central

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-10-13 17:00

HONG KONG - Police started removing barricades set up by the Occupy protesters on both sides of Hong Kong's harbor Monday morning.

The move to dismantle blockades on Queensway, Harcourt Road, Jackson Road, around the Arsenal Street police headquarters, and in Mong Kok, came as the student-led occupation of main roads in the heart of Hong Kong entered its third week.

HK police dismantle barricades on 16th day of Occupy Central
Hong Kong's Occupy Central participants urged to reflect 

The barricades were placed on lorries on the roadside ready to be taken away. Protesters in the area were not resisting the operation, but were monitoring the police action.

A number of helmeted police were on standby, while officers used loud hailers to tell protesters that they were not clearing the site, but only trying to retrieve equipment that belongs to the force and the government.

In Mong Kok, police successfully removed barricades at the junction of Argyle Street and Shanghai Street, enabling five lanes to reopen to traffic.

The move came after protesters had allowed the junction of Argyle and Portland Street to reopen.

But police attempts to remove barricades on Mong Kok Road failed after they were confronted by demonstrators there.

The police have again called on protesters to clear major roads of obstacles and reduce the size of the occupation zones.

Chief Superintendent Steve Hui also urged protesters to clear Queensway in Admiralty, to allow tram services to run normally again. He warned occupy leaders and other citizens against using social media to encourage people to expand the protests.

Hui also criticized protesters in Mong Kok, after another rowdy night in which scuffles broke out between police and people manning barricades.

HK police dismantle barricades on 16th day of Occupy Central
HK government official to meet with Occupy Central students 

He described Mong Kok as a "high-risk area", where troublemakers may gather. A total of 47 people have been arrested at the protest there so far, he said.

The Chief Executive, CY Leung, has said the government doesn't want to clear protesters from the streets unless it has to.

In an interview with local media, Leung said he doesn't regard the protests as a revolution, but believes they are part of a mass movement that has spun out of control.

Leung also said the decision to use tear gas on protesters in Admiralty a fortnight ago was made by the police, although he was involved in the general handling of the situation.

He said the police were trying different methods to get protesters to leave the streets, and they don't want to have to resort to force. But if that day does come, the police will use the minimum force required and would try to reduce the repercussions as far as possible.

He added that he doesn't want to see young people get hurt and reiterated that he would not step down, saying that wouldn't help resolve the political impasse.

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