(Reuters) – A small group of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters broke into the city’s legislature via a side door early on Wednesday, and police stopped others forcing their way in as tensions in the Chinese-controlled city escalated following a period of calm.
The flare-up came just hours after court bailiffs managed to clear part of a protest camp in the heart of the city that has been occupied by pro-democracy demonstrators for nearly two months, while leaving most of the main protest site intact.
About 100 riot police with helmets, batons and shields stood guard outside the government building in the early hours of Wednesday, facing off with protesters who are demanding free elections for the city’s next leader in 2017.
“Police retreat!” the protesters chanted.
It was the first time protesters had broken into a key public building, defying the expectations of many political analysts who had predicted that Hong Kong’s most tenacious and protracted protest movement would slowly wind down.