Riot police cleared a major pro-democracy protest site in Hong Kong on Wednesday following street clashes.
Scuffles broke out as some protesters tried to resist attempts to force them out of the area, according to witnesses.
Hundreds of activists remained on Nathan Road, at the heart of the protest site in the Mong Kok district, brandishing yellow banners and chanting for “full democracy” in the former British colony, but were pushed back by the large number of police.
Hong Kong student protest leaders Joshua Wong and Lester Shum were arrested as authorities moved in, according to the Facebook accounts of two student groups.
Earlier, court-appointed bailiffs had warned protesters to leave and around 80 workers in red caps and “I love Hong Kong” T-shirts began clearing metal and wooden barricades laid across the road, where hundreds of tents have been erected in a two-month civil disobedience campaign.
“If you resist you face possible imprisonment. We warn you to immediately stop resisting,” said a policeman, addressing activists through a loud-hailer.
Police arrested 80 pro-democracy protesters in running clashes following the clearance of a blockade on a nearby street on Tuesday.
Szeto Sai-kit, a 21 year-old activist, said: “They would really swing their batons around … I am scared, but I still have to come out and keep Nathan Road.”
Several thousand police were deployed after a court ordered the reopening of a blocked street in Mong Kok that has been the scene of some of the most violent confrontations in the two-month long “Occupy Central” campaign.
The pro-democracy movement is showing signs of splintering, with radical voices calling for escalated action after nearly two months of stalemate.
In August, Beijing offered the people of Hong Kong, which reverted to Chinese rule in 1997, the chance to vote for their own leader in 2017, but said only two to three candidates could run after getting majority backing from a 1,200-person “nominating committee”.
More than 100,000 people took to the streets at the peak of the protests, but numbers have dropped to a few hundred scattered in tents over three main sites.