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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 December 2006, 11:56 GMT
Clashes at HK ferry pier protest
By Vaudine England
BBC News, Hong Kong

Hong Kong police remove a protester from the demolition site of the Star Ferry piers on 13 December 2006
Protesters staged a sit-in over the planned demolition
Violent scuffles broke out after police in Hong Kong forcibly removed protesters from the demolition site of the piers of the iconic Star Ferry.

The protestors were trying to stop government contractors from demolishing the ferry pier and clock tower.

It came as the issue was being debated by Hong Kong's legislative council.

It is considering how to reach a compromise between public opinion in favour of saving the pier and the government's harbour development plans.

Some protestors had set up camp within the demolition site, while others rallied outside in the rain.

They had hoped their demands for a dialogue with the government would be met.

Complaints

Instead, the police moved in with force and violent scuffles broke out.

The protestors sat on the ground with arms linked trying to prevent a police truck from taking away one protester who had been arrested.

Star Ferry
Star Ferry's old piers are set to be replaced by a shopping centre

Groups of police were needed to carry away each demonstrator, several of whom were injured.

One student described how the police "surrounded us like a human chain" as anger grew throughout the day.

Members of Hong Kong's legislative council were also caught off guard.

They were debating the fate of the ferry pier, after a meeting with the government minister responsible for its demolition.

They had been promised an answer to their request for a few days' grace to discuss the pier's fate.

Now several legislators are lodging complaints about excessive use of force by the police.




SEE ALSO
Hong Kong wakes up to heritage
04 Dec 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Hong Kong landmark piers closed
12 Nov 06 |  Asia-Pacific
Crowds march to save HK harbour
21 Mar 04 |  Asia-Pacific
HK harbour reclamation reprieve
09 Jan 04 |  Asia-Pacific
HK pollution protest dims lights
08 Aug 06 |  Asia-Pacific

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