Tuesday morning saw the beginning of the end of the pro-democracy protests that have wracked Hong Kong for nearly two months. Armed with a court order to clear part of the main protest site in the city's Admiralty district, bailiffs dismantled and removed barricades with little opposition. Several protesters vowed to continue occupying the streets until Beijing meets their demands for open nominations for Hong Kong's next leader. Their numbers are dwindling fast, though, and Hong Kong authorities are understandably confident that the remaining sites can be cleared in coming days.
It's time to admit the obvious: The protests have run their course. The Hong Kong government, which had once sat down across from idealistic student leaders, now declines to meet with them. Over the weekend, a poll revealed that almost 70 percent of Hong Kong’s public want the protesters to go home. Clinging to their few tent encampments would only further undermine the movement's credibility — as ultimately happened with the listless and unpopular Occupy Wall Street.
Hong Kong's Autonomy
That's a pity, because unlike Occupy Wall Street, Occupy Central actually has a definable and sympathetic goal: holding China to its promises of full suffrage for Hong Kong. What it needs is a strategy for keeping up that fight over years, not weeks. Here's where protest leaders might start…
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