Standoffs between Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters and their antagonists grew increasingly ugly Saturday, as the two sides traded insults and at times taunted police. The city’s leader said streets occupied by the protest must be cleared by Monday.
Although the mostly student-led protesters stuck to their pledges of non-violence, holding up their arms to show peaceful resistance, some shouted abuse at people who gathered to challenge their occupation of a major street in the blue-collar Mong Kok district, which is home to many migrants from the Chinese mainland.
“Go back to the mainland,” some shouted, cursing them in Cantonese.
Minor skirmishes broke out constantly, broken up by police or bystanders. Adding to the disorder, some residents dumped water from their apartments onto the people below.
The students accused police of failing to protect them from attacks Friday by mobs intent on driving them away, shouting “Black Police!” — a reference to their claim that the police had allied with “black societies,” or criminal gangs, to clear out the protesters. The claim was vehemently denied by the government.