2014-10-17 09:39:00

Hong Kong police clear protest zone

(Vatican Radio/agencies) Riot police cleared an offshoot Hong Kong pro-democracy protest zone in a dawn raid on Friday, taking down barricades, tents and canopies that have blocked key streets for more than two weeks.

Hundreds of officers, some in helmets and shields, descended in the early morning on the busy district of Mong Kok, a smaller protest zone across the Victoria Harbor from the main occupied area in the city's financial district. The key thoroughfare in Admiralty, near the heart of the city's financial district, remained occupied by protesters.

The dawn operation - the third in recent days by police to retake streets from protesters - came hours after Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying sought to defuse a bitter standoff with student-led democracy protesters by reviving an offer of talks over democratic reforms in the city.

The activists have been demanding that China live up to its constitutional promises to grant full democracy to the former British colony.

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