Security guards on Tuesday afternoon continued the removal of a handful of “Occupy Central” protesters remaining on the ground floor of HSBC’s headquarters beyond a court deadline ordering them to leave.
The eviction began on Tuesday morning when the protesters were told to remove their furniture from the plaza and leave immediately. While some belongings were removed without resistance, minor scuffles occurred as activists refusing to leave lay down on mattresses and chairs.
Scores of security staff and bailiff officers walked through tents, sofas and tables to reach the defiant activists. They encircled the protesters before grabbing them by their limbs and carrying them individually to a pavement outside the HSBC building.
During stand-offs, some protesters shouted at guards telling them to leave.
“Get away. This is a private place and these are private properties,” one female activist shouted at a team of bailiffs standing aloof next to her.
Some other protesters were chased around the plaza by security guards while attempting to escape but they were caught and pushed to the ground.
A woman who claimed to have come to the scene earlier on Tuesday to support the activists said the bailiffs had not followed appropriate procedures for eviction.
“Eviction notices must have been displayed in prominent positions at the site on at least two occasions before the eviction. You have not done this yet – and you are saying you are enforcing the law? Can anyone explain to me, on what laws your action is based on? What procedures are you following?” the woman wearing a black T-shirt said on a microphone.
On Tuesday afternoon, about 20 protesters, three tents and a few sofas and bookshelves remained in the plaza after the guards and bailiffs returned from a lunch break. Some of the protesters who had been removed early in the day attempted to return to the protest camp – but were blocked again by security guards.
The defiant protesters have remained at the site since the High Court ordered them to leave the plaza by August 27. Other activists in the anti-capitalism campaign, which started in October last year, had already left the protest site by the deadline.
Granting an application by HSBC, the court ruled on August 13 that the protesters – been inspired by last year’s Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States – had no legal basis to occupy the site. It gave the activists two weeks to leave.