Hong Kong: Hong Kong police and protesters clashed early today in some of the most violent scenes since pro-democracy demonstrations began more than a fortnight ago, leading to several arrests.
Hundreds of officers scuffled with protesters guarding newly erected barricades on a main road next to the city's government headquarters, using pepper spray to disperse those who defied orders to leave the area, according to an AFP journalist.
Within an hour police had regained control of the busy thoroughfare, which was occupied by protesters earlier in the day, dismantling hastily erected barricades and making dozens of arrests.
A wall of police marched on demonstrators clutching the umbrellas that have become emblematic of their fight for full democracy in the financial hub. They engaged in direct combat and knocked some protesters to the ground.
AFP saw several protesters being led away by police, with injuries on both sides. The exact number of those arrested was not immediately available.
Journalists were jostled by police and warned they would not be treated differently if they breached a cordon.
Daniel Cheng, a reporter for an online news portal, told AFP: "(Police) grabbed me, more than 10 police, and they beat me, punches, kicks, elbows. I tried to tell them I'm a reporter but they didn't listen."
Cheng sported cuts to his lip and bruises on his neck and back. He said he was later released after showing his press card.
Earlier in the evening, protesters told AFP that they had decided to take over the highway, named Lung Wo road, after police cleared another occupied main road near the main Admiralty protest site without warning.
"We planned to take this road in retaliation," said Jeff Wong, 30.
"The government refuses to talk to us so we will keep occupying the roads until we get a real dialogue."
Protesters moved metal barricades inside a tunnel on Lung Wo road, blocking it to traffic.
The road, which runs east-west outside the government complex, had not been occupied before.