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Kahon Chan
Monday, Oct 20, 2014

Asia

Support dwindling for Hong Kong protesters

China Daily/ANN | Kahon Chan | Monday, Oct 20, 2014

A tracking poll showed 68 per cent of Hong Kong people are against the illegal assemblies that halted traffic on thoroughfares, and approval for authorities and police is rising as protesters are losing sympathy with the wider public.

More than 1,160 adults responded to the Hong Kong Research Association's poll on the protests between Tuesday and Thursday, after some barricades at two locations on Hong Kong Island were torn down and before new clashes broke out in Mong Kok.

The majority's disapproval of the occupation campaign had consolidated since the first poll conducted in the first week of October. Sixty-eight per cent of respondents opposed the "Occupy Central" protests, while support slipped by 2 percentage points to 27 per cent.

Geo Cheng was walking quickly in Mong Kok to catch the cross-border bus to Guangzhou.

"This should end. The occupation caused traffic jams. Bus routes were switched to inconvenient places that made it hard for me to get to my destination," the 24-year-old said. "As it continues, the situation is really making me sick."

Even before the weekend scuffles in Mong Kok, the poll already marked a significant shift in public sentiment in favour of the authorities, as disapproval of the demonstrators' action jumped from 48 to 55 per cent.

Protest organizers lost support as their disapproval rose above 62 per cent. By contrast, action from the government has won the support of 56 per cent of the people, and action by the police has the support of 61 per cent, both improvements of 5 percentage points.

Benny Chiu takes a minibus to work from Mong Kok everyday. Now it takes 20 minutes more for him to reach his office because the bus changed its route.

"It's unacceptable to me that the occupiers blocked the road again. We've heard your voice. But if you continue like this, the whole society may turn its back on you," he said.

Owing to the blockades, three in five people surveyed experienced varying degrees of nuisance and 55 per cent felt worse about the outlook for Hong Kong.

New clashes that took place at Mong Kok after midnight on Sunday led to more than 20 people being injured, including five police officers. Activists claimed they charged the police cordon because they wished to retake a key intersection.

Luis Liu contributed to this story.

kahon@chinadailyhk.com

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