'We'll be back': Hong Kong protest site cleared, but students say the movement is just the beginning

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Police may be in the process of dismantling the last physical reminders of the pro-democracy protests that have rocked Hong Kong for several months, but students say the lack of compromise from government officials has eroded trust in and respect for government - intangible consequences that could shape the future of the island.

For more than 10 weeks, students and other pr0-democracy demonstrators have blocked roads and created street art demanding that China allow Hong Kong residents to select the candidates who will appear on the ballot in 2017. On Thursday, police, who had allowed the protesters to occupy a main financial and shopping district, cleared the remaining protesters out and dismantled the tents and signs that remained.

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Authorities met little resistance and remaining protesters quietly allowed themselves to be arrested, but students say the experience has shaped how they feel about Hong Kong's leaders, who have supported Beijing's resistance to democracy.

They say that while the so-called Umbrella Movement may be coming to an end, it has spawned a new generation of political activists who will not rest until they see a democratic Hong Kong.

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"Many new groups and organisations have started as a result of the Umbrella Movement. They have all promised to continue the fight for democracy - in the court, in schools, in workplaces, in everyday life. This is not the end - the Umbrella Movement is just the beginning," reads a post on a popular English-language Facebook page.

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A young protester told CNN, "Before the Umbrella Movement, Hong Kong people didn't really pay attention to politics. But now, everyone cares…Our generation will pass this story on to the next generation, and they'll know what we did."

Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.

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