HONG KONG – Hong Kong's Occupy activists were locked in a standoff Tuesday with bailiffs trying to evict them from a public space underneath HSBC's Asian headquarters.
Bailiffs scuffled with the protesters, who had ignored a court order requiring them to leave the site by August 27. Local television showed black-clad bailiffs trying to carry off one of the camp's dozen or so Occupy activists and linking arms to force back others.
The activists were allowed to return to their camp, which they've outfitted with sofas, tables, chairs, bookcases and gas cookers, while the bailiffs started packing up some of their belongings.
Hong Kong's Occupy movement started camping out under the HSBC building in the heart of the city's financial district on Oct. 15, when protesters in the Asian financial center joined others around the world in a day of demonstrations against corporate excess and economic inequality.
The group, which according to media reports numbered more than 100 at its peak, has outlasted other Occupy encampments around the world that have been shut down by authorities.
The land under the HSBC building where the Occupy activists have been living is owned by the bank but legally designated a public passageway. A judge ruled that the activists' use of the space goes beyond its designated use.
The global movement is generally thought to have begun Sept. 17, when tents sprang up at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan.