Update as of 5:30 a.m. EST: Splinter groups have called for an intensification of protests in the streets of Hong Kong even as authorities ready themselves to clear the streets at the remaining protest sites, Reuters reported Monday.
Defying calls from Joshua Wong -- a student leader who has been involved in the protests since the beginning -- to remain non-violent, a number of newly-formed groups have called for protesters to defend themselves against any attempts to clear the streets.
“The government doesn’t respond to peaceful demonstrations, so naturally there will be more and more radical groups setting up,” Wong Yeng-tat, founder of a protest group named Civic Passion, reportedly said.
Leaders of the Student Front, a protest group formed on Saturday, reportedly said that the movement could no longer restrict itself to non-violence and urged protesters to resist removal from the streets.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said that the police are expecting “furious resistance” from the few pro-democracy protesters still remaining on the streets of Admiralty -- the largest remaining protest site in the district -- according to a report by South China Morning Post (SCMP). The police are expected to start clearing the protest sites, which have been occupied for over two months, on Wednesday.
“I think we should be prepared, both psychologically and operationally, that towards the end of the illegal occupation there will be fewer people taking part and they tend to be more radical,” Leung reportedly said. “Maybe during the clearance or when police help bailiffs to execute the order, there would be some rather furious resistance.”
However, Joshua Wong, a teenage student leader who recently ended a hunger strike, said that his group would continue to remain non-violent even when the police move in to clear the protest site, according to a report by Reuters.
Pro-democracy protests calling for open elections in Hong Kong began over two months ago and, at their peak, witnessed the participation of hundreds of thousands of residents. Since then, however, the protests have dwindled following divisions among the protest leaders. And, as of now, only about 100 protesters remain on the streets in Admiralty, according to media reports.