Hong Kong’s embattled leader has blamed “external forces” for more than three weeks of pro-democracy protests in the region as both sides prepare for negotiations to end the disruption.
Chief executive CY Leung’s comments came after violent clashes in Mong Kok at the weekend where police used batons and pepper spray to disperse protestors. At least 20 were injured.
“There is obviously participation by people, organisations outside of Hong Kong,” Mr Leung said in an interview with Asia Television (ATV).
“This is not the only time they do it, this is not the exception.” The movement, he added, had spun out of control even for those organising it.
Protest leaders will meet government officials on Tuesday for talks aimed at ending the demonstrations that have paralysed swathes of Hong Kong for weeks.
The number of protestors had thinned to a few hundred from some 200,000 at the peak, only to resurge again on October 17 when police attempted to clear barricades, leading to the violence.
It is the first time Mr Leung has suggested demonstrators are under outside influence, rhetoric deployed by state-run media and Communist Party cadres seeking to blame domestic troubles on unspecified foreign forces.
When pressed on which countries could be interfering, Mr Leung said: “I shan’t go into details.”
Last week Chinese vice premier Wang Yang compared Hong Kong’s “umbrella revolution” to colour revolutions in Ukraine and Tunisia, adding that “some Western nations” were supporting Hong Kong opposition parties.
Alex Chow from the Hong Kong Federation of Students, a protest organiser, called Mr Leung’s comments “irresponsible”.
SOURCE: Nicola Davison