Hong Kong police clear streets as protesters move to park

Protesters in Hong Kong left the streets, averting possible clashes on Monday after haggling for hours with police by moving to areas near the city's government headquarters.

The demonstrators who stayed after a massive protest march the day before, demanding that Chief Executive Carrie Lam abandon a proposed extradition bill, were seen streaming Monday morning into a space outside Hong Kong's Legislative Council after police who had cleared it reopened the area.

Their decision to move allowed police to reopen streets to traffic.

The activists have rejected an apology from Lam for her handling of the legislation, which has stoked fears of expanding control from Beijing in this former British colony.

"We are very angry that Carrie Lam has not responded to the demands of all the protesters, but now is the time to talk about strategy, and talk about strategy is to how about how to make the whole struggle into a long-term struggle and not a day struggle, so if Carrie Lam does not respond to the five demands by the protesters, people will come back and the struggle will continue," said Lee Cheuk-yan, a former legislator and activist.

Shortly after daybreak, the police had asked for cooperation in clearing the road but said the protesters could stay on the sidewalks.

For a time, the protesters, many in masks and other gear to guard against possible use of tear gas, responded with chants, some kneeling in front of the officers.

(with news agency inputs)