Trouble-makers and Occupy Central protesters requesting to leave were escorted away from the site. Counter-protesters jeered and lashed out at them. On one occasion, police removed a rowdy anti-Occupy protester, placing him back on the front lines moments later.
Pro-Beijing campaigner Chan Ching-sum, convenor of Caring Hong Kong Power, was on the scene addressing anti-Occupy demonstrators. She said that she had rallied 500 people on social media to descend upon the encampment.
Onlookers poured into the surrounding areas, many were upset about the inconvenience the protest camp had bought upon local residents and businesses in the district.
A local resident named Paulo said “they are occupying the road… they should go.” Others heckled the pro-democracy protesters, chanting for them to “go home.”
At the height of the unrest, the Hong Kong Federation of Students, protest group Scholarism and Occupy Central organisers called off talks with the government. Students had been due to meet Chief Secretary Carrie Lam for talks on reform this Saturday.
Nearer to midnight, most of the anti-Occupy activists had left the site. People supportive of the students now filled the site, as rain began to fall.
A government press release issued during the unrest urged protesters on both sides to remain calm and called upon Occupy Central protesters to “disperse as soon as possible.”
Police later announced that 19 arrests had been made – some of them had connections to organised crime, or had triad backgrounds.
During the daytime on Saturday, scenes were repeated as just a few dozen police officers struggled to maintain order. Scuffles and fights broke out as anti-Occupy activists attempted to storm the protest camp once more.
Protesters had stocked up on supplies, though one of them, named Jack, said that “no-body is happy” with the police.
“Even if the police are here, I don’t feel safe,” pro-democracy protester Faye Lai said. “See what they [police] did to us last week, with tear gas… But last night, these people smashed tents, broke roadblocks, attacked us. A real riot.”
People Power legislator Albert Chan was present. He said his party has “been here for a week & we will support the students… There are triads involved… violent behaviour. The police have been biased. Hong Kong is deteriorating seriously in terms of security & freedom”
Unrest in Mong Kok continued throughout the night and into today.
The police ‘under-reaction’ and violence from the anti-Occupy side has galvanised Hong Kongers once more. Tens-of-thousands of people gathered near government headquarters in Admiralty at an anti-violence rally last night.
Evidence of instances of sexual harassment went viral on Friday. The victim of the incident below spoke at yesterday’s non-violence rally.