Hong Kong court bailiffs on Tuesday dismantled barricades set up by pro-democracy protesters outside Citic Tower that have been blocking the street in the heart of the city for nearly two months.
The bailiffs started removing the barricades outside the 33-storey building in Admiralty shortly after 10am local time, enforcing a court order against protesters blocking the entrance into Citic Tower.
Some of the protesters were seen removing the barricades themselves, while others packed up their tents and belongings and prepared to move to another part of the protest area.
The court order affects only the immediate area around Civic Tower, where barricades had blocked parts of the street and disrupted commuters heading to the central business district nearby.
A long section of a multi-lane highway is still occupied by the protesters and hundreds of colourful tents.
Some protesters told The Straits Times that they would not resist the removal of barricades so long as these are within the areas delineated in the injunction order.
"I will not resist because I don't want to be arrested. But we will retreat to Harcourt Road and continue to stay there till the government listens to us," Mr Sean Lau, a 28-year-old finance student, told The Straits Times. He has been camping out on the streets for 40 days.
During the operation, there was some disagreement between the court bailiffs and the protesters on whether a certain barricade was covered under the court order.
Police stood by but they adopted a hands-off approach throughout the operation.
Protest leader Joshua Wong and other protesters told the media that they would continue to camp out at Admiralty beyond the Citic Tower area.
The protesters have been demanding open nominations in the city’s next election for chief executive in 2017. Beijing has said it will allow a vote in 2017, but only between pre-screened candidates.
The protests, which drew more than 100,000 people at their peak, have dwindled to just hundreds camped out in tents at key intersections on both sides of the harbour.