19 arrested in clashes in Hong Kong

Protest leaders call off planned talks with government on political reforms. Students demand resignation of current chief executive, Leung Chun-ying

Hong Kong: Friction between pro-democracy protesters and opponents of their weeklong occupation of major Hong Kong streets persisted on Saturday as police denied any connection to criminal gangs suspected of inciting attacks on largely peaceful demonstrators.

Pro-democracy protesters, including one carrying a shield from the Captain America comic book series stand their ground as they look out for the presence of rival protest groups in Hong Kong yesterday. PIC/AfP

Police arrested 19 people during a night of running brawls in which at least 12 people and six officers were injured. Eight men were believed to have backgrounds linked to triads, or organised crime, said Senior Superintendent Patrick Kwok Pak-chung.

“Rumours linking us to ‘black societies,’ are utterly unfair,” visibly agitated Hong Kong’s security chief, Lai Tung-kwok.
Protest leaders have called off planned talks with the government on political reforms. Students and other activists are protesting China’s decision to require a committee of mostly pro-Beijing figures screen candidates for the city's first-ever election of its top leader. They are also demanding the resignation of the current chief executive, Leung Chun-ying.

Meanwhile, police have repeatedly urged protesters and their opponents to clear the streets. Opponents of the demonstrations are using blue ribbons to signal their support for the mainland Chinese government, while the protesters are wearing yellow ribbons. The “blue ribbons” rallied in Kowloon’s waterfront Tsim Sha Tsui - “Love Hong Kong” and “Support Police” they chanted, holding up placards such as ‘Alliance in support of our police force’.

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