A demonstrator is taken away by policemen from an area previously blocked by pro-democracy supporters, outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong, December 11, 2014. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
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Hong Kong police began dismantling the city's main pro-democracy site Thursday, clearing away tents and barricades after more than two months of rallies, and hauling off a hard core of protesters who nevertheless vow that their struggle lives on.Police had announced a "lockdown" after a 30-minute window allowing protesters to voluntarily leave the site -- an encampment of tents, supply stations and art installations sprawling along a kilometre of a multi-lane highway through the Admiralty district.Thousands gathered on Wednesday night for one final mass rally at the site, but the numbers had already dwindled to hundreds by Thursday morning.The Admiralty site has been the focal point of the protest movement since rallies erupted in September, after China's Communist authorities insisted that candidates in Hong Kong's 2017 leadership election will have to be vetted by a loyalist committee.Some in Admiralty expressed a sense of failure Thursday morning, after the authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing refused to give any concessions on political reform, but said the occupation had changed Hong Kong for good.
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