Calm returned to the streets of Hong Kong on Monday following overnight clashes when police stopped protesters from surrounding government offices.
Hospital authorities in Hong Kong said that 58 people including 11 police officers were injured in the confrontation, which also led to 52 arrests.
Student leader Alex Chow, acknowledged that the action to storm the government buildings was a “failure”. He said that escalation of the protest had some effect as it forced closure of government offices for half-a-day on Monday. “But as a whole, it was a failure,” said Mr. Chow. “The whole plan did not achieve its objective of paralysing government.” He acknowledged that the protesters had “underestimated is the strength of [the government’s] political power”.
The setback to the student protests was accompanied by a brewing diplomatic row between the Chinese government and Britain, after Beijing refused visas to parliamentarians wanting to visit Hong Kong, a former British colony.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying, stoutly defended Beijing’s decision, asserting that foreign countries have no right to interfere in China’s domestic affairs.“China has repeatedly expressed its objection to Britain that it resolutely opposed the so-called investigation by the delegation sent by the British parliament’s foreign affairs committee, and asked it to cancel the plan,” said Ms. Hua, during her daily press briefing. “If certain British MPs insist on doing this, it would be an overt confrontation and would not be beneficial for Sino-British ties,” she warned.“It is China’s sovereign right to decide who is or is not allowed to enter [the Chinese territory].”
In Hong Kong, C.Y. Leung, Hong Kong’s chief executive, slammed the Federation of Students and the campaign group Scholarism for their call to surround government offices. “The police has used the greatestrestraint,” he said. “Don’t mistake their tolerance for inability in handling Occupy. Don’t mistake their tolerance for weakness.”