Hong Kong cops, protesters clash for second night

2014-10-19 10:56
(Alex Ogle, AFP)

(Alex Ogle, AFP)

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Beijing - Riot police clashed with pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong's busy Mong Kok area for a second night late on Saturday and early on Sunday, with each side blaming the other for the violence.

Organisers of the student-led protests accused police of attacking protesters with batons, while the authorities said they had used "minimum force" after they were repeatedly charged by the demonstrators.

"A large number of people who were illegally occupying the carriageway on Nathan Road near Argyle Street in Mong Kok suddenly attempted to charge police cordon lines," a police statement said on Sunday.

It said repeated warnings were ignored.

"Police thus took resolute action by applying minimum force to disperse them to prevent the situation from deteriorating."

It said three people were injured, but local media said at least two dozen protesters had been hurt.

A man was arrested for carrying two knives in his backpack, police said.

Local broadcaster RTHK quoted a spokesperson as saying police also detained a 23-year-old man suspected of posting online messages encouraging people "take part in illegal assemblies" and charge the police.

Police had reported 26 arrests by early Saturday following the clashes on Friday.

The protesters are calling for open elections for the semi-autonomous Chinese territory's next chief executive in 2017, rejecting a ruling from Beijing that candidates must be approved by a government-backed election committee.

The Hong Kong government is trying to persuade protest groups to end their action and on Saturday said talks with protest leaders were likely to take place on Tuesday.

The talks were expected to last about two hours and would be broadcast live, said Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief secretary for administration.

In Washington, US Secretary of State John Kerry discussed Hong Kong with State Councillor Yang Jiechi, China's top diplomat, on Friday and Saturday.

Kerry shared "our perspective, our views, our hopes, and our concerns with regard to the situation in Hong Kong, both in the short term and beyond", a state department official said.

Read more on:    hong kong

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