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Dec 3, 2014 4:32 AM

3 Hong Kong protest leaders turned away by police

The Associated Press

HONG KONG (AP) Three founders of a civil disobedience campaign that helped spark Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests were turned away by police Wednesday after trying to surrender in a bid to bring to an end the increasingly violent street demonstrations.

Professors Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Chan Kin-man and the Rev. Chu Yiu-ming haven't been charged, but authorities say protests that have blocked streets in the Asian financial center for more than two months are illegal.

In a statement, they had said their move to surrender was a message that they were ready to respect the rule of law. "To surrender is not to fail, it is a silent denunciation of a heartless government," they said.

The attempted surrender was likely to have little influence on student protesters, who are continuing to occupy two protest sites after a violent night of clashes with police earlier this week as they tried to surround city government headquarters.

The three democracy movement leaders were joined by dozens of supporters also planning to turn themselves in, as well as a crowd of jeering people calling for them to be jailed.

Tai said they gave police their details and indicated that they should be arrested for taking part in an unauthorized assembly. But police told them they were free to go because they weren't wanted for anything, he told reporters after leaving the police station.

The trio founded Occupy Central with Love and Peace, which aimed to shut down streets in the financial hub to press for greater democracy in the semiautonomous Chinese city.

But their campaign was overtaken by student protesters, who make up the bulk of the activists and who kick started their own protest by occupying the streets outside the government complex. In response, the Occupy Central founders scrapped their original plan and announced they were joining the students on Sept. 28.


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