Hong Kong authorities prepare to clear part of protest site

lunes 17 de noviembre de 2014 21:34 GYT

HONG KONG Nov 18 (Reuters) - Hong Kong authorities on Tuesday prepared to clear part of a key area of the heart of the city that has been occupied by pro-democracy demonstrators for nearly two months.

About 30 court bailiffs arrived at the 33-storey Citic Tower in Admiralty, next to government buildings, to enforce an injunction against the street barricades after a request from the building's owners, witnesses said.

Some protesters packed up pillows, blankets and other belongings from inside their tents and prepared to move to another part of the demonstration zone.

The area near Citic Tower, headquarters of CITIC Pacific Ltd., has been surrounded by metal barricades for weeks, blocking parts of the street and disrupting commuters heading to the Central business district next door.

The former British colony of Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula that gives the city more autonomy and freedom than the mainland and a goal of universal suffrage.

The protesters are demanding open nominations in the city's next election for chief executive in 2017. Beijing has said it will allow a vote in 2017, but only between pre-screened candidates.

The protests, which drew well over 100,000 at their peak, have dwindled to hundreds camped out in colourful tents at key intersections on both sides of the harbour. (Reporting By Yimou Lee and Clare Baldwin; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Nick Macfie)