Pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong have suspended talks with the government after violent scuffles.
A few hours earlier the head of the territory had offered new dialogue over electoral reform after days of mounting tension.
Some protesters allege destabilising tactics by pro-Beijing supporters.
One told reporters: “Apparently what’s going on is there are some people who have been paid, apparently they’ve been paid by mainlanders, and then they’ve been trying to cause trouble round here and they tried to take away the barricade.
“So as a result, a bunch of people went over there to stop them from causing trouble, because as a result, if they cause trouble, it will make an excuse for the police to intervene.”
Others say it was also local residents who wanted to evict the demonstrators from the street, fed up with the disturbance to their lives.
At the heart of the crisis is Beijing’s insistence that it will have the final say on nominations for Hong Kong’s next leadership election in 2017.
This is Hong Kong’s worst civil unrest since the former British colony was handed over to Chinese rule in 1997.
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