HONG KONG — Hong Kong's High Court has ordered the main protest sites that have choked the financial city for more than two months to be cleared, building up to a final showdown between pro-democracy activists and authorities backed by Beijing.
A local bus company, which was granted an injunction against street blockades at the site in Admiralty, home to government offices and next to the main Central business district, has received an official clearance order from the High Court, according to notices posted in local papers on Tuesday.
Student groups have been calling for a free vote in the Chinese controlled city through largely peaceful demonstrations dubbed the "Umbrella Movement." Chief Executive C.Y. Leung, who has branded the protests illegal, has rejected calls for more talks on political reform and warned protesters not to turn to violence when the clearance starts.
Police are expected to clear the sites on Thursday with over 3,000 officers, the South China Morning Post newspaper reported, citing police sources. Protesters on the ground have thinned considerably to under 100 with most of the hundreds of tents pitched on the camp site empty. At their peak, the rallies drew more than 100,000.
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