Hong Kong police stage mock protest in 'major' training exercise for Occupy Central
Officers surround ‘sit-in’ and remove ‘protesters’ in drill ahead of civil disobedience movement
"Protesters" blocked a road on the grounds of the Police College in Aberdeen yesterday in what force insiders described as a "major exercise" to prepare for possible trouble during the Occupy Central mass sit-in.
All parking at the college was suspended for the day to facilitate the seven-hour exercise, which began at about 10am.
During a simulated march, there were chants of "make way" and "stop the northeastern New Territories new-towns plan" from the 30 or so protesters, all of whom were officers. One group barged into police and another blocked the road.
Officers then formed a cordon around the sit-in, while other police arrived with barricades. Protesters lying on the ground were carried to a bus nearby.
Watch: Hong Kong police stage ‘major exercise’ in preparation for Occupy Central
Police have clashed twice recently outside the Legislative Council complex with protesters fighting plans for new towns.
A police spokesman said yesterday's exercise was part of the force's regular drills to prepare officers to "handle public processions more professionally".
Some 4,000 officers will be deployed to maintain order during the annual July 1 march, part of their preparations for the Occupy Central protest, which will go ahead if the government fails to come up with an acceptable plan for the 2017 chief executive election.
The Police College will be turned into a temporary detention centre during the July 1 operation, police sources said.