Traffic resumes after Hong Kong clears protesters

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Hong Kong protests - October to now (last updated 12/11/2014)
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Traffic resumes after Hong Kong clears protesters
HONG KONG - FEBRUARY 01: Pro-democracy protesters hold banner that reads 'I want real universal suffrage' and displays a yellow umbrella during a march for democracy on February 1, 2015 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Thousands of pro-democracy supporters gathered in Hong Kong for the first major rally since the occupy movement took over parts of Hong Kong, a stand off that lasted over 2 months. Protestors are calling for autonomy in Hong Kong chief executive elections as China continues to have control over who can run for the position. (Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - FEBRUARY 01: A pro-democracy protester wears a Union Jack during a march for democracy on February 1, 2015 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Thousands of pro-democracy supporters gathered in Hong Kong for the first major rally since the occupy movement took over parts of Hong Kong, a stand off that lasted over 2 months. Protestors are calling for autonomy in Hong Kong chief executive elections as China continues to have control over who can run for the position. (Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - FEBRUARY 01: Demonstrators march for democracy on February 1, 2015 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Thousands of pro-democracy supporters gathered in Hong Kong for the first major rally since the occupy movement took over parts of Hong Kong, a stand off that lasted over 2 months. Protestors are calling for autonomy in Hong Kong chief executive elections as China continues to have control over who can run for the position. (Photo by Lucas Schifres/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - FEBRUARY 01: Demonstrators march for democracy on February 1, 2015 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Thousands of pro-democracy supporters gathered in Hong Kong for the first major rally since the occupy movement took over parts of Hong Kong, a stand off that lasted over 2 months. Protestors are calling for autonomy in Hong Kong chief executive elections as China continues to have control over who can run for the position. (Photo by Lucas Schifres/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - FEBRUARY 01: Two demonstrators holding banners saying 'I want true universal suffrage' pretend to have their wrists and ankles restrained during a march for democracy on February 1, 2015 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Thousands of pro-democracy supporters gathered in Hong Kong for the first major rally since the occupy movement took over parts of Hong Kong, a stand off that lasted over 2 months. Protestors are calling for autonomy in Hong Kong chief executive elections as China continues to have control over who can run for the position. (Photo by Lucas Schifres/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - FEBRUARY 01: Demonstrators march for democracy on February 1, 2015 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. Thousands of pro-democracy supporters gathered in Hong Kong for the first major rally since the occupy movement took over parts of Hong Kong, a stand off that lasted over 2 months. Protestors are calling for autonomy in Hong Kong chief executive elections as China continues to have control over who can run for the position. (Photo by Lucas Schifres/Getty Images)
This photo taken on December 11, 2014 shows a woman packing up at a pro-democracy protest camp just before police moved in to clear the site next to the central government offices in the Admiralty district in Hong Kong. Rush-hour traffic streamed through the heart of Hong Kong for the first time in more than two months on December 12 after police cleared the city's main pro-democracy protest camp with mass arrests -- but activists vowed that their struggle would go on. AFP PHOTO / ALEX OGLE (Photo credit should read Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on December 11, 2014 shows a man packing up at a pro-democracy protest camp just before police moved in to clear the site next to the central government offices in the Admiralty district in Hong Kong. Rush-hour traffic streamed through the heart of Hong Kong for the first time in more than two months on December 12 after police cleared the city's main pro-democracy protest camp with mass arrests -- but activists vowed that their struggle would go on. AFP PHOTO / ALEX OGLE (Photo credit should read Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on December 11, 2014 shows a woman packing up at a pro-democracy protest camp just before police moved in to clear the site next to the central government offices in the Admiralty district in Hong Kong. Rush-hour traffic streamed through the heart of Hong Kong for the first time in more than two months on December 12 after police cleared the city's main pro-democracy protest camp with mass arrests -- but activists vowed that their struggle would go on. AFP PHOTO / ALEX OGLE (Photo credit should read Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
Trucks with cranes clear debris near the Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Hong Kongs police removed barricades and tore down tents around government offices, as a group of protesters prepared to make a last stand after more than two months of democracy demonstrations. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HONG KONG - DECEMBER 11: 'We Will Be Back' is displayed on a sign taped to the road outside Hong Kong's Government complex on December 11, 2014 in Hong Kong. After more than two months and drawing crowds of over 100,000 the main Admiralty pro-democracy protest site is cleared away by bailiffs and police after a court injunction paved the way for officials to clear three parts of the site. Police aim to clear the remaining areas, unblocking roads and returning Hong Kong's Central Business District to normal operations. (Photo by Brent Lewin/Getty Images)
ADMIRALTY, HONG KONG, HONG KONG SAR, CHINA - 2014/12/11: On Thursday 11 December 2014, after 74 days of the Occupy Hong Kong protest, a few dozen protesters continue their sit-in at the Admiralty site before police enacted a court injunction to remove protesters and their encampment from Connaught Road Central. The authorities had warned protesters to leave in advance of the clearance, but a few pro-democracy demonstrators remained, leading to a handful of arrests. (Photo by Stefan Irvine/LightRocket via Getty Images)
ADMIRALTY, HONG KONG, HONG KONG SAR, CHINA - 2014/12/11: On Thursday 11 December 2014, after 74 days of the Occupy Hong Kong protest, police enact a court injunction to remove protesters and their encampment from Connaught Road Central. The authorities had warned protesters to leave in advance of the clearance, but a few pro-democracy demonstrators remained, leading to a handful of arrests. (Photo by Stefan Irvine/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A pro-democracy protester is removed by police officers from the highway after protesting near to Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Hong Kong's police removed barricades and tore down tents around government offices, as a group of protesters prepared to make a last stand after more than two months of democracy demonstrations. Photographer: Billy H.C. Kwok/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Trucks with mechanical buckets grab empty tents left by the pro-democracy protestors, after the police cleared the highway near to Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Hong Kong's police removed barricades and tore down tents around government offices, as a group of protesters prepared to make a last stand after more than two months of democracy demonstrations. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
An operator controls the mechanical bucket on his truck as its scoops up empty tents left by the pro-democracy protestors, after the police cleared the highway near to Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Hong Kong's police removed barricades and tore down tents around government offices, as a group of protesters prepared to make a last stand after more than two months of democracy demonstrations. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HONG KONG - DECEMBER 11: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) Remaining pro-democracy protesters operate a sit in outside Hong Kong's Government complex on December 11, 2014 in Hong Kong. After more than two months and drawing crowds of over 100,000 the main Admiralty pro-democracy protest site is cleared away by bailiffs and police after a court injunction paved the way for officials to clear three parts of the site. Police aim to clear the remaining areas, unblocking roads and returning Hong Kong's Central Business District to normal operations. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
HONG KONG - DECEMBER 11: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) Remaining pro-democracy protesters operate a sit in outside Hong Kong's Government complex on December 11, 2014 in Hong Kong. After more than two months and drawing crowds of over 100,000 the main Admiralty pro-democracy protest site is cleared away by bailiffs and police after a court injunction paved the way for officials to clear three parts of the site. Police aim to clear the remaining areas, unblocking roads and returning Hong Kong's Central Business District to normal operations. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
HONG KONG - DECEMBER 11: (CHINA OUT, SOUTH KOREA OUT) Laborers dismantle a barricade outside Hong Kong's Government complex on December 11, 2014 in Hong Kong. After more than two months and drawing crowds of over 100,000 the main Admiralty pro-democracy protest site is cleared away by bailiffs and police after a court injunction paved the way for officials to clear three parts of the site. Police aim to clear the remaining areas, unblocking roads and returning Hong Kong's Central Business District to normal operations. (Photo by The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)
A policeman (R) clears a tent from a road at the main pro-democracy protest site in the Admiralty district in Hong Kong on December 11, 2014. Hong Kong police dismantled the city's main pro-democracy site on December 11, clearing tents and barricades after more than two months of rallies and leading away more than 100 demonstrators, who vowed their struggle lives on. AFP PHOTO / DALE DE LA REY (Photo credit should read DALE de la REY/AFP/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - DECEMBER 11: Police officers clear a wooden crate outside Hong Kong's Government complex on December 11, 2014 in Hong Kong. After more than two months and drawing crowds of over 100,000 the main Admiralty pro-democracy protest site is cleared away by bailiffs and police after a court injunction paved the way for officials to clear three parts of the site. Police aim to clear the remaining areas, unblocking roads and returning Hong Kong's Central Business District to normal operations. (Photo by Brent Lewin/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - DECEMBER 11: A protester is being arrested by police officers during the clearance of Occupy Central Pro-democracy camp in Admirality, on December 11, 2014 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. (Photo by Lucas Schifres/Getty Images)
Hong Kong police arrest lawmaker and pro-democracy activist Leung Kwok-Hung (C) during a sit-in as police clear the main protest site in the Admiralty district in Hong Kong on December 11, 2014. Hong Kong police began dismantling the city's main pro-democracy site on December 11, clearing away tents and barricades after more than two months of rallies, and hauling off a hard core of protesters who nevertheless vow that their struggle lives on. AFP PHOTO / ALEX OGLE (Photo credit should read Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
Hong Kong police walk towards pro-democracy demonstrators as they clear the remains of the pro-democracy protest camp in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on December 11, 2014. Hong Kong police began dismantling the city's main pro-democracy site on December 11, clearing away tents and barricades after more than two months of rallies, and hauling off a hard core of protesters who nevertheless vow that their struggle lives on. AFP PHOTO / PEDRO UGARTE (Photo credit should read PEDRO UGARTE/AFP/Getty Images)
A Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrator sleeps on the pavement during a sit-in as police cleared the main protest site in the Admiralty district in Hong Kong on December 11, 2014. Hong Kong police began dismantling the city's main pro-democracy site on December 11, clearing away tents and barricades after more than two months of rallies, and hauling off a hard core of protesters who nevertheless vow that their struggle lives on. AFP PHOTO / DALE DE LA REY (Photo credit should read DALE de la REY/AFP/Getty Images)
A man walks past dismantled tents and debris near the Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong, China, on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014 Hong Kongâs government removes road blockades and the encampment of protesters around its offices, bringing an end to the democracy demonstrations that have divided the city for more than two months. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A protester is carried away by police officers near the Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Hong Kongs police removed barricades and tore down tents around government offices, as a group of protesters prepared to make a last stand after more than two months of democracy demonstrations. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Protesters sit near the Central Government Offices in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014. Hong Kongs police removed barricades and tore down tents around government offices, as a group of protesters prepared to make a last stand after more than two months of democracy demonstrations. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HONG KONG - DECEMBER 11: A protester wears a skull mask during the clearance of Occupy Central Pro-democracy camp in Admirality, on December 11, 2014 in Hong Kong, Hong Kong. (Photo by Lucas Schifres/Getty Images)
Police use pepper spray against pro-democracy protesters near the government headquarters in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on December 1, 2014. Police unleashed pepper spray and baton charges at students who tried to storm Hong Kong's government headquarters early on December 1, as tensions soared in the third month of pro-democracy protests. AFP PHOTO / DALE de la REY (Photo credit should read DALE de la REY/AFP/Getty Images)
A pro-democracy protester looks on as they face police forces at a pro-democracy rally in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on November 30, 2014. Protesters want free elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's leader, whom Beijing says must be vetted through a loyalist committee. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-democracy protesters face police forces at a pro-democracy rally in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on November 30, 2014. Protesters want free elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's leader, whom Beijing says must be vetted through a loyalist committee. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-democracy protesters face police forces after clashes at a pro-democracy rally in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on November 30, 2014. Protesters want free elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's leader, whom Beijing says must be vetted through a loyalist committee. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-democracy protesters face police forces during clashes at a pro-democracy rally in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on November 30, 2014. Protesters want free elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's leader, whom Beijing says must be vetted through a loyalist committee. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A pro-democracy protester hangs onto a barricade during clashes with police forces at a pro-democracy rally in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on November 30, 2014. Protesters want free elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's leader, whom Beijing says must be vetted through a loyalist committee. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
A pro-democracy protester is covered in pepper spray as he hangs onto a barricade during clashes with police forces at a pro-democracy rally in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on November 30, 2014. Protesters want free elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's leader, whom Beijing says must be vetted through a loyalist committee. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - NOVEMBER 30: Police officers use pepper spray as they clash with pro-democracy protesters outside Hong Kong's Government complex on November 30, 2014 in Hong Kong. Leaders from the Federation of Students called on fellow protesters to attend a rally and come prepared for escalated action. Protesters were asked to bring masks, umbrellas and helmets in a bid to move the protests forward after police successfully cleared the Mong Kok protest site earlier this week. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - NOVEMBER 30: Riot police arrest a pro-democracy protester during clash outside Central Government Complex on November 30, 2014 in Hong Kong. According to reports, hundreds of pro-democracy protestors and police faced-off with at least fice potestors arested. (Photo by Lam Yik Fei/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - NOVEMBER 30: Pro-democracy protesters clash with police as they try to take over Lung Wo Road outside Hong Kong's Government complex on November 30, 2014 in Hong Kong. Leaders from the Federation of Students called on fellow protesters to attend a rally and come prepared for escalated action. Protesters were asked to bring masks, umbrellas and helmets in a bid to move the protests forward after police successfully cleared the Mong Kok protest site earlier this week. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Policemen arrest a pro-democracy protester during a pro-democracy rally in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on November 30, 2014. Protesters want free elections in 2017 for Hong Kong's leader, whom Beijing says must be vetted through a loyalist committee. AFP PHOTO / Philippe Lopez (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
To go with HongKong-China-politics-democracy-youth by Katy Lee In this picture taken on October 30, 2014, a pro-democracy protester peers out from inside his tent in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong. A month on the streets has given young Hong Kong democracy protesters a taste of life outside the city's cramped shoebox apartments -- and away from the prying eyes of overprotective parents. In this city of high tower blocks and even higher property prices, many Hong Kongers reach their 30s before they get married and move out of crowded family homes. Space, tranquility and privacy are all in short supply in one of the most densely populated spots on earth. AFP PHOTO/ Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
To go with HongKong-China-politics-democracy-youth by Katy Lee In this picture taken on October 30, 2014, pro-democracy protesters sit inside their tent in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong. A month on the streets has given young Hong Kong democracy protesters a taste of life outside the city's cramped shoebox apartments -- and away from the prying eyes of overprotective parents. In this city of high tower blocks and even higher property prices, many Hong Kongers reach their 30s before they get married and move out of crowded family homes. Space, tranquility and privacy are all in short supply in one of the most densely populated spots on earth. AFP PHOTO/ Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
A pro-democracy protester sleeps at a camp site in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong on October 30, 2014. A senior Hong Kong lawmaker was expelled from a prestigious Chinese government body October 29, in a sign that Beijing will not tolerate dissent from loyalists over pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous city. AFP PHOTO/ Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
To go with HongKong-China-politics-democracy-youth by Katy Lee In this picture taken on October 30, 2014, a pro-democracy protester checks his phone as he sits inside his tent in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong. A month on the streets has given young Hong Kong democracy protesters a taste of life outside the city's cramped shoebox apartments -- and away from the prying eyes of overprotective parents. In this city of high tower blocks and even higher property prices, many Hong Kongers reach their 30s before they get married and move out of crowded family homes. Space, tranquility and privacy are all in short supply in one of the most densely populated spots on earth. AFP PHOTO/ Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
To go with HongKong-China-politics-democracy-youth by Katy Lee In this picture taken on October 30, 2014, a pro-democracy protester (C) draws an illustration onto his tent in the Admiralty district of Hong Kong. A month on the streets has given young Hong Kong democracy protesters a taste of life outside the city's cramped shoebox apartments -- and away from the prying eyes of overprotective parents. In this city of high tower blocks and even higher property prices, many Hong Kongers reach their 30s before they get married and move out of crowded family homes. Space, tranquility and privacy are all in short supply in one of the most densely populated spots on earth. AFP PHOTO/ Nicolas ASFOURI (Photo credit should read NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images)
A man jabs his fingers in the throat of a pro-democracy protester (C) in the Central district of Hong Kong on October 13, 2014. Hong Kong has been plunged into the worst political crisis since its 1997 handover as pro-democracy activists take over the streets following China's refusal to grant citizens full universal suffrage. AFP PHOTO / ALEX OGLE (Photo credit should read Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - OCTOBER 14: A pro-democracy protester raise his hands in front of police cordon on a street outside of Hong Kong Government Complex on October 14, 2014 in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy protesters took over Lung Wo Road after police cleared off the barricades on Queen's Road. Protesters continue to call for open elections and the resignation of Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
Pro-democracy demonstrators stand behind umbrellas during a protest in the Admiralty area of Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters girded themselves for an anticipated showdown with police who earlier used chain saws and sledgehammers to clear barricades from a major road in the city's business district. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HONG KONG - OCTOBER 14: Pro-democracy protesters use umbrellas to protect themselves from police's pepper spray on a street outside of Hong Kong Government Complex on October 14, 2014 in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy protesters took over Lung Wo Road after police cleared off the barricades on Queen's Road. Protesters continue to call for open elections and the resignation of Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - OCTOBER 14: Pro-democracy protesters clash with police officers on a street outside of Hong Kong Government Complex on October 14, 2014 in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy protesters took over Lung Wo Road after police cleared off the barricades on Queen's Road. Protesters continue to call for open elections and the resignation of Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
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HONG KONG (AP) - Traffic was back to normal Friday in Hong Kong's financial district after authorities demolished a protest camp at the heart of the city's 2 ½-month pro-democracy movement.

Hundreds of police officers, some armed with chainsaws and bolt cutters, on Thursday methodically dismantled barricades, tore down canopies and removed banners in a daylong operation to shut the protest site sprawled across a normally busy highway.

Police said 249 people were arrested for unlawful assembly and obstructing police officers, bringing the total number of those detained since the movement began 75 days earlier to about 900.

There were no violent clashes seen in previous confrontations. The student-led protesters had occupied streets in the Admiralty neighborhood and two other areas since Sept. 28 to protest Beijing's restrictions on the first election of the city's top leader.

"It's now convenient for everybody, but I also feel very unfortunate that we can't argue with the government," said Ngai Tsui-kuen, a courier.

The unprecedented campaign, which began as separate protests led by student and activist groups, got a jumpstart in September when police fired dozens of tear gas rounds on a group of demonstrators angered over the prolonged detention of key student leaders. The resulting movement paralyzed traffic, polarized public opinion and, activists said, marked the start of an era of civil disobedience in Hong Kong, an orderly Asian financial hub where residents are increasingly worried about mainland China's increasing sway.

It also adds to the challenges for Chinese President Xi Jinping, who has taken a tough stance against dissent in other regions at the country's edges.

On Thursday, hundreds of demonstrators heeded police warnings to leave the protest zone to avoid being arrested, but dozens remained on the street. They chanted "I want true democracy" and "We will be back" but offered no resistance as they were taken away one by one, many lifted off the ground.

"I feel very sad because it seems that the whole occupy movement is over," said Mo Lau, a student. "But I believe that we will see more actions as our demand has not been addressed. In the short term, I think there will be a lot of demonstrations or protests."

Among those arrested were pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai, pop singer Denise Ho, veteran pro-democracy activist Martin Lee and pro-democracy legislators including Albert Ho. Leaders from the Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism, two student groups that have played key roles in organizing the protests, were also taken to police stations.

The sprawling Admiralty encampment, next to city government headquarters, was the focal point of what became known as the "Umbrella Movement" because of the protesters' use of umbrellas to fend off police pepper spray.

The protesters reject Beijing's restrictions on the election of the city's top leader scheduled for 2017, but failed to win any concessions from Hong Kong's government.

"People will come back again, they will come back with stronger force," said Alex Chow, secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, who was arrested.

Pro-democracy lawmakers said they would pressure the government in the legislature by blocking funding requests and the government's electoral reforms.

"A dialogue can only happen when we vote down the coming political reform package," said pro-democracy lawmaker Lee Cheuk-yan, who was the last to be taken away by police.

Hong Kong Protest Site Opens Up

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