Hong Kong Follies

News

Pro democracy activists in Hong Kong have apparently been successful defying riot police who attempted to disperse them with pepper spray and baton charges.

Around a thousand protesters, some of which were wearing protection built barricades inside the densely populated Mong Kok district. Some chanted Black Police after public safety officials struck demonstrators' umbrellas with metal batons.

The area has become a flashpoint for ugly street brawls between students and mobs, including triads, or local gangsters, intent on breaking up the prolonged protests that pose one of the biggest political challenges for China since the crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing in 1989.

Twenty-six people were arrested and 15 officers were injured, the government said in a statement. Meanwhile, the demonstrators claim that public safety officials do not have the right to throw them out. Some say they 're there to take back what is supposed to belong to them.

Protesters are demanding free elections for a leader in 2017, but China insists on screening any candidate first and the government will not compromise.

China rules Hong Kong under a "one country, two systems" formula that gives the city wide-ranging autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, with universal suffrage stated as the "ultimate aim".