HONG KONG - Police dismantled the last barricades at Hong Kong's main pro-democracy protest site Thursday and arrested more than 200 activists in an emotion-laden end to a civil-disobedience campaign that had lasted more than two months.
The protests, which began with a surge of optimism in late September, ended without any significant concessions from the governments of Hong Kong or China. Still, some protest leaders chanted "we will be back" as they were carried into police vans after they staged a defiant sit-in.
The demonstrations represented one of the most serious challenges to Beijing's authority since the 1989 demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.
Even though Hong Kong's protesters did not achieve their objective - to force Beijing to roll back its controls over elections in the former British colony - their supporters said they had awakened a generation to the need to hold on to democratic goals.
Earlier in the day, workers in white helmets and then police methodically dismantled the barricades, meeting no resistance from protesters.
The action brought to a close 11 weeks of protests in Hong Kong's Admiralty district, where hundreds of tents had been erected alongside study areas, a stage, and first-aid stations. The occupation filled an eight-lane highway beside key government buildings and on the edge of the financial district, with pro-democracy banners dangling from bridges and artwork on display throughout the site.
The protests drew about 100,000 people at their height. Although the crowds gradually decreased, about 10,000 people gathered at the Admiralty site for a rally Wednesday evening.