#AceWorldNews – HONG KONG – October 05 – Police armed with pepper spray and batons clashed with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, as fears grew Sunday that officials would use force to clear key streets by the beginning of the work week.
Large crowds of protesters scuffled with police overnight in the blue-collar Mong Kok district in Kowloon, a flashpoint that has seen violent clashes between pro-democracy student protesters and their antagonists over the weekend.
‘ People injured by Pepper Spray ‘
Tens of thousands of people, many of them students, have poured into the city’s streets in the past week to peacefully protest China’s restrictions on the election for the city’s top leader. But as the stand-off between the protesters and the government entered its eighth day, tempers flared and patience was waning among residents who oppose the occupation of the streets and the disruption it brings.
Police said they had to disperse the crowds with force early Sunday because they provoked officers with verbal abuse, while the students accuse police of failing to protect them from attacks by mobs intent on driving them away.
The students claim that police had allied with criminal gangs to clear them, but the government has vehemently denied it.
The city’s top leader, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, appeared on television Saturday evening to once again urge everyone to go home, saying key roads paralyzed by protesters need to return to normal by Monday.
HONG KONG (AP) – The story of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong’s top leader, is the type of rags-to-riches tale that is generally admired in this commercially-minded city. But Leung is deeply unpopular, thanks mainly to his long-standing ties with mainland China.
Beijing’s burgeoning influence in this former British colony is a key factor driving protests that have paralyzed parts of this dynamic city and brought on some of the worst confrontations in decades.