Pro-democracy protesters defying calls to clear Hong Kong's streets could now face arrest after the High Court ordered the police to clear protest sites, which have been occupied for over six weeks, a senior government official said on Tuesday, according to media reports.
“The court has authorized police to arrest people who prevent the bailiffs from executing the injunctions,” Hong Kong Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, who’s also currently the city’s acting chief executive, said on Tuesday, according to media reports. “To uphold the rule of law, police are preparing to enforce the law, including making arrests.”
Lam’s statements come just a day after the Hong Kong high court authorized the police to remove or arrest people who continued to ignore a previous injunction, granted by the court on Oct. 20, against the Occupy Central movement.
“Under the rule of law, even if the defendants are of the view that a court order is wrongly granted, instead of simply disobeying it, they should first comply with it but seek to challenge and argue against that order in court,” High Court Justice Thomas Au Hing-cheung said during the ruling on Monday, according to a report by the South China Morning Post, or SCMP.
An unnamed police official told SCMP that protesters who refused to move could face arrest, adding that the streets of the densely populated Mong Kok district would be cleared by Wednesday or Thursday.
Lam also said that as of now, “there is no room for dialogue” with the protesters, who are mainly led by the Hong Kong Federation of Students, according to media reports.
“In the previous talks, the government has shown the greatest sincerity in the two-hour session … but the federation didn’t demonstrate the same sincerity,” Lam reportedly said, adding that further talks were futile if the protesters were only going to “repeat their views.”