On Friday, tensions between frustrated residents and Occupy Central protesters boiled over in Hong Kong as the student-led pro-democracy movement continued to grow.

What had been peaceful sit-ins and demonstrations by students and young professionals calling for China to allow democratic elections in Hong Kong were upended by older, angry counter-protesters in the Mong Kok, Admiralty and Causeway Bay neighborhoods.

Anti-Occupy demonstrators engaged in scuffles with students and urged them to disperse and return "stability" to the area. Occupy Central supporters accused opponents of sympathizing with China, which has denounced the movement, and police for failing to intervene.

In Mong Kok, angry masked anti-Occupy demonstrators attempted to breach human chains the police formed as a barrier with the pro-democracy protesters.

Students have accused the police of being slow to rein in aggressive counter-demonstrators.

While the pro-democracy movement had been relatively calm and peaceful, demonstrators have shut down car traffic and clogged public spaces for nearly a week, preventing some residents from getting to work and school. Subways have been inundated and some businesses and banks have shuttered because of the protests.

Laura Liu He, a Hong Kong resident and Asia correspondent for MarketWatch, the Wall Street Journal digital network, told Fusion that bank branches have been forced to close and some investors "fear the unrest might hurt Hong Kong's status as Asia's financial hub."


The long-term impacts of the protest remain unclear. Students and young people are demanding China honor its promise of autonomous elections in Hong Kong. They have criticized Hong Kong's government for bowing to China's wishes and urged the city's Beijing-backed leader, CY Leung, to resign.

Leung has said he will not give up his post, but has agreed to a meeting with student protest leaders. Students, many of whom are missing class with their professors' permission to take part in the protests, say they will only take part in the meeting if the government and police agree to protect students from anti-Occupy demonstrators.

Video credits: Shot and produced on the ground by Diego Torres, Produced by Jared Goyette, Edited by Walter J. Collins, Powered by Storyhunter

Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.