The Hong Kong police forces moved in to break up scuffles on Saturday between pro-China protesters and those denouncing perceived Chinese meddling at the start of rallies planned for across the city after months of often violent unrest, Reuters informed.
Pro-China demonstrators chanted “Support the police” and “China, add oil” at a shopping mall, adapting a line used by anti-Hong Kong government protesters and loosely meaning: “China, keep your strength up”.
“Hong Kong is China,” one woman shouted at passersby who shouted obscenities in return in an angry pushing and pulling standoff, marked more by the shouting than violence.
The clashes in the Kowloon Bay area of the Hong Kong “special administrative zone” of China spilled out on to the streets, with each confrontation captured by dozens of media and onlookers on their smart phones. Police detained several people, according to Reuters.
Protesters complaining about the Chinese interference in the former British colony came out in their hundreds across the territory on Friday, singing and chanting on the Mid-Autumn Festival, in contrast to the violence of many previous weekends when police have responded with tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon.
Protesters have also gathered in malls, with occasional scuffles with flag-carrying China supporters, often denouncing police for perceived brutality, Reuters adds.
Anti-government protesters were also gathering in the downtown Central district and hundreds were marching in the northwestern New Territories district of Tin Shui Wai.
“We need to keep coming out to tell the government to respond to our five demands, otherwise it will think we accept the withdrawal (of an extradition bill),” said protester Mandy, 26, in Tin Shui Wai, where crowds, a few waving the U.S. Stars and Stripes, shouted: “Liberate Hong Kong.”