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HK police break up overnight anti-government protest

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Police remove a protester who was occupying the Government Headquarters after Wednesday’s pro-democracy march in Hong Kong July 2, 2009.

HK police break up overnight anti-government protest

HONG KONG (Reuters) – A group of around 130 Hong Kong protesters were forcefully removed from the city’s government headquarters early on Thursday following a major protest march that drew an estimated 76,000 thousand people.

The protesters, who expressed dissatisfaction with Hong Kong’s leader Donald Tsang and chanted anti-government slogans, were repeatedly warned by police to leave.

Tsang’s popularity has dipped this year following a series of policy missteps amid the economic downturn and controversial comments over the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown.

After a protracted standoff, dozens of police officers moved in and began hauling off the protesters one by one, including activist lawmaker “long hair” Leung Kwok-hung who was dragged off kicking and shouting.

No arrests were made.

“Some people took a non-cooperative attitude but the police had to take a resolute action to restore order in the government headquarters,” said police spokeswoman Winnie Chiu.

The protesters were all evicted by around 3am local time.

The standoff at the government headquarters took place at the end of a massive protest march on July 1, the 12th anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese rule, with tens of thousands of people pressuring the government on a range of issues including swifter democratic reforms, poverty alleviation and investor rights protection.

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