July 2, 2011 / 4:44 AM / 8 years ago

Hong Kong police arrest over 200 anti-govt protesters

Protesters hold up a defaced picture of Hong Kong billionaire businessman Li Ka Shing and various signs during a protest march to demand universal suffrage and to rally against rising property prices in Hong Kong July 1, 2011.REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong police said it arrested more than 200 protesters, who paralysed traffic of the central business district and refused to leave at dawn on Saturday after tens of thousands took to the streets voicing their discontent with the government.

The police used pepper spray to stop protesters and arrested 228 people on alleged illegal assembly and obstruction of public places, it said in a statement on Saturday.

The turnout of protests on Friday, the 14th anniversary of the British handover of the territory to China, was the highest in seven years with organisers claiming 218,000 people participated and police saying only 54,000 joined.

The march piled up the pressure on the government to postpone or withdraw its controversial bill to scarp the mechanism of having Legislative Council by-elections, local media reported on Saturday.

“The main objective of today’s rally is to protest against property developers’ control over the Hong Kong economy. Secondly we are asking the chief executive to step down. Thirdly and most importantly, this is for universal suffrage in 2012,” said legislator Albert Chan during the rally on Friday.

Reporting by Alison Leung; Editing by Yoko Nishikawa

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