Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators at Hong Kong government headquarters braced for a second night of confrontations with authorities Saturday after police arrested dozens during a chaotic protest against Beijing’s refusal to allow genuine democratic reforms in the semiautonomous city. Wearing goggles and plastic wrap to protect against police pepper spray, the protesters — most of them students — occupied an area outside government headquarters and defended their position with metal crowd-control barricades originally brought in by authorities. The crowd was still swelling late Saturday night, with supporters continuing to arrive.
Earlier in the day, police arrested 74 people who had stormed into a courtyard in the government complex late Friday, some of them scaling a tall fence. They refused to leave until police cleared them out by early Saturday afternoon. The protesters, the youngest of whom is 16, were arrested for offenses including assault and disorderly conduct. The standoff follows a weeklong strike by thousands of students demanding China's Communist leaders allow Hong Kong fully democratic elections in 2017. University and college students who had spent the week boycotting classes were joined Friday by a smaller group of high school students. At least 34 people have been injured since the protest began, including four police officers and 11 government staff and guards, authorities said.
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