HONG KONG - A man who claimed to be a father of three climbed on top of a bridge in Admiralty district Sunday afternoon, complaining with a megaphone that the protests had prevented his children from going to school and demanding to speak with student leaders of the week-old pro-democracy protests.
Firefighters put up a huge inflatable cushion under the bridge in case he fell, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.
The man, who said his surname was Yau, scaled the covered bridge in Admiralty - the epicentre of the protests - and berated protesters for five hours, at one point brandishing a knife, Agence France-Presse reported. "Give the road back to Hong Kong's parents so kids can go back to school," he shouted to crowds assembled below, according to an AFP reporter.
"I'm not supporting the government, I'm representing parents asking you when you will clear the road," he added. "I've got three children at home."
The walkway links Hong Kong's besieged government offices and a shopping centre, and allows pedestrians to cross what is ordinarily a busy highway.
Student leaders Joshua Wong and Alex Chow arrived at the scene at about 3pm to speak with the man, who was not identified, Ming Pao Daily News said. But the two were advised by police negotiators to hold off on speaking with the man until after the latter came down from his precarious perch.
Onlookers accused the man of being paid to put on a show, RTHK said.
The man finally relented at about 5.50pm, ending the drama nearly six hours after it started and after almost an hour speaking to three negotiators, South China Morning Post reported.
There was applause from people below as he clambers to safety, leaving his megaphone behind, the Post said. He was immediately taken away by the authorities, it added.