Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have clashed with counter-demonstrators and police, both intent on removing road blocks that have brought parts of the Chinese controlled city to a standstill.
Security forces took some barricades away as the blockade entered its third week, saying this was to ease traffic congestion. The disruption has angered taxi drivers in particular but activists tried to put new barriers in place.
Authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing look to be running out of patience.
“I want to point out that China is a country ruled by law” said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei.
“For those who have broken the law, the Chinese judicial institutions will take appropriate legal measures to safeguard our national stability and the public interest.”
When an unidentified crowd tore down protest barriers, demonstrators claimed the attacks were organised and may have involved Asian crime gangs.
The activists want Hong Kong’s Chief Executive to resign and for people to be given the right to vote for a leader of their choice in elections in 2017. China wants to select candidates for the poll.