Thousands of police stationed in Mong Kok to stop Occupy protesters re-taking the streets
About 6,000 police officers will be assigned to the cleared streets and nearby areas in Mong Kok until Sunday to prevent a reoccupation by protesters angered by removal tactics yesterday, according to a police source.
Clashes erupted again in Mong Kok last night. From 10pm, hundreds of people made repeated attempts to reoccupy roads, hours after traffic on Nathan Road returned to normal following the two-month occupation by pro-democracy activists.
There was pushing and shoving between the crowd and police. One man was left with a bloodied head and several people were subdued and taken away. Police reinforcements were sent in and red flags were raised warning people not to charge.
A total of 148 protesters were arrested during the two-day operation in which the occupied area in nearby Argyle Street was reopened on Tuesday.
Watch: Scenes from police action in Mong Kok, arrests
The source said police would have 3,000 people on the ground at any time until Sunday, when a reassessment would be made.
"The police will continue to make their best effort to prevent people from obstructing the road again," Chief Superintendent Steve Hui Chun-tak said.
Occupiers said they were not deterred. "I will come back later. We cannot lose Mong Kok no matter what," Kumi Lam said.
Those arrested yesterday included Wong Ho-ming of the League of Social Democrats, Joshua Wong Chi-fung of Scholarism and Szeto Tze-long and Lester Shum from Hong Kong Federation of Students. They were arrested for various offences including contempt of court and obstructing police.
The police source said Mong Kok was still considered "high-risk" and there was a hint last night of what might be in store. Several hours after the barricades fell, part of the road had to be closed again as police moved to break up new crowds.
Alex Chow Yong-kang, of the Federation of Students, said his group felt the Occupy movement "still had energy", but further action would continue to embrace the principle of non-violence.
Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit, Democrat Helena Wong Pik-wan, the Labour Party's Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung and the Professional Commons' Charles Mok said they would not support any violence.
All six lanes of Nathan Road, northbound and southbound, were reopened at 3pm yesterday after the clearance supported by about 3,000 police including the crack Police Tactical Unit.
Police took over from bailiffs enforcing an injunction by taxi groups - who said their business had been damaged by the protests - after tension flared over the involvement of clearance workers said to have been authorised by the taxi groups.
Samuel Chan, Ernest Kao, Chris Lau, Timmy Sung, Emily Tsang, Joyce Ng