Hong Kong protests 'out of control,' says government
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying says government does not want to use force to clear streets
As the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong entered their third week, the territory’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said the movement had "spun out of control."
In a Sunday television interview with a local broadcaster TVB, Leung said the government did not want to clear protesters from the streets unless it had to but added that if police did use force, they would use the minimum required.
Leung -- who ordered police to use tear gas and pepper spray in the early days of the protest, only to back down in the face of widespread popular uproar -- went on to say he did not want to see young people get hurt.
The head of government for the former British colony, who took up his post in 2012, reiterated that he would not step down, as protesters have demanded.
In response to the interview, the protest leadership issued a joint statement that pinned the blame for disagreement over political reform on the Hong Kong government.
Claiming the government had submitted an erroneous report on reform to Beijing, the leaders said: "According to the standards of a civilized society, an official mired in such scandals would have resigned long ago, lest he damage the government’s credibility and ability to govern.
"If Leung really had the interests of the people at heart, he should also know he needs to depart."
Leung's television appearance came after a night of tension and scuffles at one of the two major protest sites, Mong Kok, where hundreds of protesters camped overnight.
Tension between police and protesters peaked at around 02.00 local time (21.00 Saturday Turkish time) when plainclothes police demanded identification documents from protesters reinforcing barricades.
The demonstrators responded by demanding the officers show their identification and after a heated argument several policemen grabbed one protester and dragged him away.
The South China Morning Post reported that at least three protesters were arrested. The stand-off ended when police retreated.
Protester James Bang claimed a policeman hit him on the leg with a baton during the scuffle.
Last Modified: 2014-10-13 07:22:42
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