Hong Kong:  The Hong Kong police Monday broke up the last bastion of the pro-democracy protests in the city with 17 arrests in a busy commercial district.

It was the third such police operation in a month to dismantle street protest sites in Hong Kong.

The police this time were deployed at the commercial Causeway Bay district where a small group of barely 50 people remained at an improvised camp put up when the demonstrations began in September.

Within an hour, police officers and cleaning personnel, with the help of about half a dozen tow trucks, dismantled over a hundred metres of the occupied street campsite.

They also cordoned off the area where about 20 people were on the streets defying repeated warnings from the police to leave the area or face arrest.

In total, at least 17 people, according to what Efe news agency could verify, were detained by the police while about 100 people shouted slogans in favour of unrestricted universal suffrage for Hong Kong voters.

Among those arrested was “Uncle Wong”, an 80-year old who was also detained during another evacuation last week at the financial district of Admiralty.

With the operation at Causeway Bay, the authorities shut the last umbrellas of the Umbrella Movement, as the protests were popularly known.

In an unprecedented police deployment Thursday, thousands of officers evacuated protesters from the Admiralty district from where the movement — demanding electoral reform that would allow Hong Kong citizens to elect their leader without interference from mainland China — was managed and carried out.

That police operation, which was carried out peacefully, ended with the arrest of over 200 demonstrators.

The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong over the last two-and-a-half months have posed the biggest challenge to the Chinese government in 25 years, since the bloody clampdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Though with Monday’s operation protesters are without a permanent site, hundreds of people continue to turn out on the streets every night, seeking greater democratic rights for Hong Kong.

–IANS/EFE

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