The bailiff’s moved to enforce the court injunction on Argyle Street in Mongkok today 25 November, 2104. The first part of the day, the removal of the barricades and obstructions passed smoothly if slowly and disorderly. The massed ranks of the media and onlookers perhaps proving more of a hindrance than the small number of protestors. It took several hours for the obstructions to be removed as the bailiff’s took a few bits away, stopped conferred took a few more. As the mainly rubbish and junk was removed the police line slowly advance into the short occupied section of Argyle Street where a stand-off as to what would happen next ensued.
There were lots – 4 on top of the MTR entrance with me and at least 4 more they spoke and shared information with on the road – of plainclothes mainland police or intelligence (identified by listening to their conversations) videoing and looking to identify anyone who looked like a protestor / spoke to protestor / appeared to be against the police action.
After the bailiffs tried to move forward through the massed ranks of people, someone – he didn’t identify himself or his position in English – announced in Chinese and English that the bailiffs had officially requested help from the police to enforce the injunction. (So what were the police doing helping them earlier if they hadn’t been asked to?). A further announcement of arrests with multiple criminal charges if obstructions continued was made. Then the bailiffs all moved to the back and three ranks of plainclothes police ahead of lines of uniformed officers moved aggressively into the ranks of protestors, media and onlookers. Why are plainclothes police being used? Most of the plainclothes officers were actively hiding their identities and warrant cards – either by not wearing them or hanging them under clothing.
As the plainclothes police moved in, several aggressive arrests were made and as those arrested were passed backwards it was easy to see from my high vantage point the police beating them unnecessarily. If you have 6 guys carrying a persons arms and legs why do you need a couple more hitting and kneeing in the head and ribs?
The altercations and scuffles over the final bit of the Argyle Street clearance were precipitated by the actions of the police – again why were plain clothes officers in black vests with no visible id being used instead of uniformed officers? The needlessly violent arrest of a few – none of whom, that I saw, resisted arrested – by police has triggered the evening’s actions across Mongkok – perhaps that was the plan. The use of pepper spray and a water/vapour version of tear gas (which doesn’t such a negative visual impact in the media as tear gas does) is ongoing across Mongkok with police indifferent as to who is sprayed – protestor, journalist or innocent passer-bye.
All new helmets, gloves and other equipment for the PTU
The photos link through to the gallery of today’s events – currently unsorted, my apologies for that. Click to see more