HONG KONG - Hong Kong police battling activists for control of an underpass in the dead of night Wednesday sparked public anger after officers were seen kicking a handcuffed protester in the worst violence since pro-democracy street demonstrations began more than two weeks ago. Officers armed with riot shields and pepper spray knocked activists to the ground, dragging dozens away, and tore down barricades protesters used as roadblocks around the underpass outside the government's headquarters.
Outrage over their aggressive tactics exploded after local TV showed half a dozen officers taking the protester around a dark corner and kicking him on the ground. It's unclear what provoked the attack. Local Now TV showed footage of him splashing water on officers beforehand. "Hong Kong police have gone insane today, carrying out their own punishment in private," said pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan. Protesters oppose plans for a pro-Beijing committee to screen candidates to run in Hong Kong's first elections to choose the city's chief executive in 2017. The protesters also want the current leader, Leung Chun-ying, to resign.Beijing, meanwhile, issued its harshest condemnations yet of the protests, calling them illegal, bad for business and against Hong Kong's best interests.
- The Associated Press