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Riot police moved in on a Hong Kong pro-democracy protest zone in a dawn raid on Friday, taking down barricades, tents and canopies that have blocked key streets for more than two weeks. Hundreds of police officers, some in helmets and shields, descended in the early morning on the busy district of Mong Kok, an offshoot protest zone across the Victoria Harbor from the main occupied area in the city's financial district.
The dawn operation — the third in recent days by police to retake streets from protesters — came hours after Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying sought to defuse a bitter standoff with student-led democracy protesters by reviving an offer of talks over democratic reforms in the city. Police surrounded about 30 protesters, who did not put up resistance. There were no clashes between the two sides, but several activists lay down on the street after the operation and refused to budge. Much of the protest zone was cleared in about half an hour. Leung said Thursday the protests, which have disrupted traffic in key roads and streets in three business districts since Sept. 26, could not go on indefinitely. Protesters are pressing for a greater say in choosing the semiautonomous Chinese city's leader in an inaugural direct election, promised for 2017.
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