Officials quickly denied rampant rumors that they backed the unrest
Friction between pro-democracy protesters and opponents of their weeklong occupation of major Hong Kong streets grew on Saturday, as police denied they had any connection to criminal gangs suspected of inciting attacks on largely peaceful demonstrators.
Student protesters urged supporters to turn out again in the evening to show their solidarity.
“The more suppression by the government, the more resistance by the people,” Joshua Wong, a 17-year-old student, leader told protesters gathered under a steady drizzle.
Police arrested 19 people during a night of running brawls in which at least 12 people and six officers were injured. Eight men were believed to have backgrounds linked to triads, or organized crime gangs, said Senior Superintendent Patrick Kwok Pak-chung.
Rumors quickly spread that the government had coordinated the attacks, particularly after pro-democracy protest supporter and head of Hong Kong’s Civic Party Alan…
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