HONG KONG, Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Hong Kong's high court ruled police can remove protesters and barricades from occupied zones as early as Wednesday.
The ruling, issued Monday and announced Tuesday, came after plaintiffs informed the court the blockades of the Mong Kok district and at one office building in the Admiralty area by pro-democracy protesters, were hurting their businesses. It amplified three previous restraining orders, and authorized police to arrest and remove demonstrators.
Hong Kong media speculated the areas would be cleared as soon as Beijing's APEC summit, which involves world leaders from the Pacific Rim and Asia, concludes Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times said.
Although talks between leaders of the protest movement and the city government were attempted last month, with no success, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's second-in-command official, implied Tuesday no further talks would be considered.
"Student leaders didn't show sincerity after the first talks. There's no room for negotiation for the time being," she said.
Anson Chan, former head of Hong Kong's civil service and still among the city's most influential citizens, warned, though, the students would not leave empty-handed. She told the British newspaper The Telegraph Hong Kong is changing because of its lack of adherence to the law.
"They (they government) should now embark on a process of whatever you call it – compromise, reconciliation, negotiation – because surely it is not up to the students to attempt to defuse the situation. It is up to the grown-ups and the adults. So it is up to the government and to Beijing to think of a way through this current impasse and to bring everybody to the negotiating table. I predict that if you continue to allow this slide then in five or six years time, Hong Kong will be completely changed. You chip away at the rule of law, you start to affect the independence of the judiciary, you clamp down even harder on our rights and freedoms and you increasingly resort to patronage, cronyism. All of this makes us feel that the Hong Kong we love is crumbling before our very eyes and if we do nothing about it this rate of deterioration will just pick up speed."
The protests began after Beijing advised it would screen candidates for Hong Kong political office, what some perceived as a violation of the city's special status it was guaranteed within China in 1997, when it was returned to China from Britain.