A deepening sense of impasse gripped Hong Kong on Monday as pro-democracy protests entered their fourth week, with the government having limited options to end the crisis and demonstrators increasingly willing to confront police.
Dozens of people were injured in two nights of clashes over the weekend in the densely populated Mong Kok district of the Chinese-controlled city, including 22 police, media said. Four people were arrested on Sunday for assault, police said.
The area was calm on Monday although scores of protesters remained on the streets.
Hopes of easing the worst political crisis in Hong Kong since Britain handed the free-wheeling city back to China in 1997 rest on talks scheduled for Tuesday between the government and student protest leaders that will be broadcast live.
But few are expecting any resolution given the two sides are poles apart on how the city will elect its next leader in 2017.
"I don't expect much from tomorrow's meeting, but I still hold some hope for the talks," said Woody Wong, a 21-year-old student who camped overnight with protesters on Nathan Road, the main thoroughfare in Mong Kok.
"I will keep doing this until the government listens to our voice."
Students want free elections, but China insists on screening candidates first. Hong Kong's Beijing-backed leader, Leung Chun-ying, has said the city's government was unwilling to compromise on China's restrictions, which were announced in late August.