China / HK Macao Taiwan

HK chief calls for respect of law as protests end

By KAHON CHAN/LUIS LIU (China Daily) Updated: 2014-12-16 07:16

Hong Kong's Chief Executive, Leung Chun-ying, called on Monday for full respect for the rule of law and the constitutional framework governing the special administrative region's election overhaul.

Leung's appeal came after authorities cleared the last two illegal occupation protest sites.

By Monday evening, all that remained from the 79-day divisive occupation movement were about a dozen tents and some messy piles of furniture left on a sidewalk outside the Legislative Council complex in Admiralty district.

At 2 pm, protesters camped out on the complex's forecourt were given an hour to retreat. Without calling in police, security officers at the legislature evicted all protesters in less than two hours.

Earlier on Monday, police cleared a section of Yee Wo Street in Causeway Bay, reopening a key intersection outside the Sogo department store in the afternoon.

Hong Kong Police Commissioner Andy Tsang Wai-hung, hosting his first media conference for more than 11 weeks, said the peaceful end to the protests shows that police used the right tactics of high restraint for most of the time to avoid bloodshed.

Police have made 955 arrests in relation to the occupation movement, while 75 others turned themselves in.

A total of 130 police officers have been injured and 221 protesters admitted to hospitals with police help. Most injuries occurred during the nine major clashes since late September.

Leung also told reporters that Monday's operations mark an end to the illegal occupation movement. He called for full respect of the law from those who pursue democracy in Hong Kong.

"If we talk about democracy without addressing the rule of law, it wouldn't be a real democracy, but merely anarchy," Leung said.

He reiterated that election of the city's future leaders by universal suffrage must follow provisions of the Basic Law and decisions made by the National People's Congress Standing Committee, to ensure that democracy in Hong Kong has a sound legal basis.

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