Leung Chun-ying

Late night anti-CY protesters block roads amid scuffles with police

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 January, 2013, 4:17am

The contrast could hardly have been starker. The day that started with an elderly crowd keenly marshalled and with few outward signs of enthusiasm ended with scuffles and blocked roads as hundreds of younger protesters went too far.

Physical clashes broke out and vehicular traffic was paralysed last night as dozens of radicals in Guy Fawkes masks brought traffic in Central to a standstill by sitting on tram tracks in Des Voeux Road Central after they were blocked from approaching the residence of the chief executive. In Pedder Street, some started to cook hot pot in the middle of the road, testing car drivers' patience.

There was no shortage of energy as anti-Leung campaigners looking to throw police a curveball and make it to Government House clashed with officers in entertainment district Lan Kwai Fong. Police sealed off both Des Voeux Road Central and Queen's Road Central as midnight approached, in preparation to clear the area.

People Power lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip blamed "poor" arrangements by police. "We are now, 15 years after the return to Chinese rule, banned from 'walking'."

A male protester surnamed Fung showed his apparently injured leg to reporters, saying it was caused by a police officer who pushed him over as he stood occupying a road.

The chaotic day and night started with a well-organised demonstration by supporters of Leung Chun-ying. Thousands of elderly and middle-aged people - many of them housewives and retirees - waved placards and flags, even if rousing them to join in chants proved a difficult task at the rally in Central. By the time they had marched the kilometre to government headquarters in Admiralty, many looked like they were running short of energy.

Earlier, artist Kacey Wong said he spent three days preparing a model of Leung as Pinocchio with an ever lengthening nose. Some disapproved.

"Hongkongers make too many jokes about their leader," said Huang Daixian, a visitor from Guizhou . "This seems like too much freedom."