Police moves in protests spark outrage
HONG KONG (AP):Riot police moving against activists before dawn yesterday sparked outrage after officers were seen kicking a handcuffed protester and dragging dozens of others away in the worst violence against the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong since they began more than two weeks ago.
Protesters were knocked to the ground by hundreds of police, some with batons, pepper spray and shields. Officers also tore down barricades around an underpass outside the government's headquarters.
The clashes worsened an already bitter stand-off between authorities and activists who have taken over key roads and streets in the city to press for democratic reforms.
"Hong Kong police have gone insane today, carrying out their own punishment in private," said pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan. "Hong Kong's values and its rule of law really have been completely destroyed by police chiefs."
Public anger over the aggressive tactics exploded after local TV showed officers taking a protester around a dark corner and kicking him repeatedly on the ground. It's unclear what provoked the attack. Local Now TV showed him splashing water on officers beforehand.
Protester Ken Tsang said he was kicked while he was "detained and defenceless." He added that he was assaulted again in the police station afterward.