‘Umbrella Revolution’ protestors attempt to block an underpass whilst riot police surround them in an attempt to clear it in Hong Kong on the morning of October 15. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez
A video purportedly showing the beating of a handcuffed protestor by Hong Kong police officials has ignited anger within the pro-democracy movement in the specially administered territory. This comes as a police crackdown on the pro-democracy protests was escalated on Wednesday morning, with a number of arrests also being carried out.
Protestors had been attempting to blockade an underpass when police moved in at around 3am on Wednesday morning. The overnight police force used batons and pepper spray in an attempt to clear the road, which they has earlier claimed was a major thoroughfare and were therefore obliged to clear.
45 people were arrested for “unlawful assembly” and for “obstructing police officers in the execution of duties”. It is reported that the scuffles between the police and the protestors lasted for around 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, local media channel TVB has aired footage of a group of Hong Kong police officers beating and kicking a handcuffed protestor after leading him away out of sight. The man, locally named as Ken Tsang, is a social worker and a member of the opposition Civic party. He was later taken to hospital.
The Hong Kong Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said that there was “concern” over the video clip which was “showing police officers who used inappropriate force against an arrested person”. When pressed further, he said that the officers in question would be removed from their duties whilst an investigation was conducted. Questions are now being raised of the police force in Hong Kong, which has been praised in the past for its neutrality and professionalism.
The protests have now entered their third week, with the occupation of many key areas of the city in an attempt to protest against China’s announcement that Hong Kongers will be eligible to vote for the next leader of their territory, but that the candidates will be vetted by Beijing.