- Occupy protest in Hong Kong ordered by court to clear encampment
- Protesters had been camping outside HSBC headquarters for 10 months
- HSBC says protesters have two weeks to clear out
Occupy Central in Hong Kong, one of the last outposts of the global protests sparked by the Occupy Wall Street movement, has been ordered to clear its encampment outside one of the world's largest banks.
For ten months, protestors have gathered at HSBC's headquarters in the heart of Hong Kong's financial district to air their grievances against corporate greed and social inequality
But on Monday, a Hong Kong court ruled in favor of HSBC's request to remove protesters camped by the entrance of its Asia-Pacific headquarters.
Although the bank is required by law to provide a passageway for pedestrians at its headquarters, the court ruled that protesters have no legal right to stake their ground.
"We welcome the decision of the court," HSBC spokesperson Gareth Hewett wrote in an email, adding that protesters will have two weeks to clear out before the bank intervenes.
While the number of active protestors has dwindled, more than a dozen tents remain at the site.
Ho Yiu Sing, one of three defendants who appeared in court on Monday, has camped under the bank since November.
The former financial analyst said he was treated unfairly in court and was disappointed by the verdict. He plans to leave the encampment, but hopes to find an alternate place to protest.
"Nowadays, most Hong Kong people aren't happy," Ho said. "The workers work for their whole lives for Hong Kong but they don't have money to buy food."
Chin Tang, an active Occupy Central member who works as a freelance graphic designer, said the protest sends a crucial anti-capitalist message to a city that is fueled by finance.
"We plan on coming back if they decide to evict us by force but we're not going to leave voluntarily," she added.
The order to evict Occupy protestors in Hong Kong comes a week after police cleared Occupy Frankfurt's encampment outside the European Central Bank's headquarters.
Most Occupy encampments in major cities have not enjoyed such longevity. Protestors at Occupy Wall Street -- where the first Occupy protest took place -- were evicted by police from their Zuccotti Park grounds two months in. London's iconic protest at Finsbury Square was removed by the local council after eight months.
The Occupy movement, which grew to encompass 900 cities, stemmed from a call for an "occupation" of New York City's financial center, published in Adbusters, an anti-consumerism magazine based in Vancouver, Canada. The grassroots movement has attracted a disparate group of protesters, bound by grievances toward socioeconomic inequality.