HK leader: 'External forces' involved in protests

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HK leader: 'External forces' involved in protests
Protesters cry as some of the protesters are beaten by riot police in the occupied area in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, early Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. New scuffles broke out Friday night between Hong Kong riot police and pro-democracy activists in a district where police cleared protesters earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
A pro-democracy protester is struck by a baton as riot police move on an occupied section of a roadway in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. Hong Kong riot police battled with thousands of pro-democracy protesters for control of the city's streets Saturday, using pepper spray and batons to hold back defiant activists who returned to a protest zone that officers had partially cleared. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
A riot police officer swings his baton at a pro-democracy protester as they move into an occupied section of a roadway in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. Hong Kong riot police battled with thousands of pro-democracy protesters for control of the city's streets Saturday, using pepper spray and batons to hold back defiant activists who returned to a protest zone that officers had partially cleared. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Pro-democracy protesters shout at advancing riot police on their encampment in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. Hong Kong riot police battled with thousands of pro-democracy protesters for control of the city's streets Saturday, using pepper spray and batons to hold back defiant activists who returned to a protest zone that officers had partially cleared. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Riot police advance on a pro-democracy protest encampment in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong early Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. Hong Kong riot police battled with thousands of pro-democracy protesters for control of the city's streets Saturday, using pepper spray and batons to hold back defiant activists who returned to a protest zone that officers had partially cleared. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Riot police stand guard against protesters at a pro-democracy protest encampment in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong early Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. Hong Kong riot police battled with thousands of pro-democracy protesters for control of the city's streets Saturday, using pepper spray and batons to hold back defiant activists who returned to a protest zone that officers had partially cleared. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Protesters guard makeshift barricades at a pro-democracy protest encampment in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong early Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. Hong Kong riot police battled with thousands of pro-democracy protesters for control of the city's streets Saturday, using pepper spray and batons to hold back defiant activists who returned to a protest zone that officers had partially cleared. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Riot police officers try to stop protesters from moving forward on a pro-democracy protest encampment in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong early Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. Hong Kong riot police battled with thousands of pro-democracy protesters for control of the city's streets Saturday, using pepper spray and batons to hold back defiant activists who returned to a protest zone that officers had partially cleared. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
A pro-democracy protester tries to relax fellow protesters as riot police advance on their encampment in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong early Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. Hong Kong riot police battled with thousands of pro-democracy protesters for control of the city's streets Saturday, using pepper spray and batons to hold back defiant activists who returned to a protest zone that officers had partially cleared. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Riot police officers advance on a pro-democracy protest encampment in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. Hong Kong riot police battled with thousands of pro-democracy protesters for control of the city's streets Saturday, using pepper spray and batons to hold back defiant activists who returned to a protest zone that officers had partially cleared. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Protesters gather behind make-shift barricades at a pro-democracy protest encampment in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong early Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. Hong Kong riot police battled with thousands of pro-democracy protesters for control of the city's streets Saturday, using pepper spray and batons to hold back defiant activists who returned to a protest zone that officers had partially cleared. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Protesters gather at a pro-democracy protest encampment in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong early Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. Hong Kong riot police battled with thousands of pro-democracy protesters for control of the city's streets Saturday, using pepper spray and batons to hold back defiant activists who returned to a protest zone that officers had partially cleared. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Pro-democracy protesters shout at advancing riot police on their encampment in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, early Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. Hong Kong riot police battled with thousands of pro-democracy protesters for control of the city's streets Saturday, using pepper spray and batons to hold back defiant activists who returned to a protest zone that officers had partially cleared. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
Riot police officers advance on a pro-democracy protest encampment in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, early Sunday, Oct. 19, 2014. Hong Kong riot police battled with thousands of pro-democracy protesters for control of the city's streets Saturday, using pepper spray and batons to hold back defiant activists who returned to a protest zone that officers had partially cleared. (AP Photo/Wally Santana)
A protester bleeds from the head after scuffles with riot police in the occupied area in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, early Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. New scuffles broke out Friday night between Hong Kong riot police and pro-democracy activists in a district where police cleared protesters earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Riot police officers use batons against protesters at a main road in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. Hong Kong riot police struggled to hold back hundreds of defiant pro-democracy activists who returned to a district that officers had partially cleared earlier Friday. Police used pepper spray and batons to fend off a huge crowd that had gathered in Mong Kok, and several protesters were seen knocked to the ground or carried away by police. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Riot police officers use batons against protesters at a main road in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. Hong Kong riot police struggled to hold back hundreds of defiant pro-democracy activists who returned to a district that officers had partially cleared earlier Friday. Police used pepper spray and batons to fend off a huge crowd that had gathered in Mong Kok, and several protesters were seen knocked to the ground or carried away by police. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Riot police officers duffle with protesters at a main road in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. Hong Kong riot police struggled to hold back hundreds of defiant pro-democracy activists who returned to a district that officers had partially cleared earlier Friday. Police used pepper spray and batons to fend off a huge crowd that had gathered in Mong Kok, and several protesters were seen knocked to the ground or carried away by police. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Local residents shout at pro-democracy protesters on a main street in Mong Kok district in Hong Kong Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. Riot police cleared an offshoot Hong Kong pro-democracy protest zone in a dawn raid on Friday, taking down barricades, tents and canopies that have blocked key streets for more than two weeks, but leaving the city's main thoroughfare still in the hands of the activists. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
A police officer and a pro-democracy protester take video each other after police moved in the occupied area in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, early Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. Riot police cleared an offshoot Hong Kong pro-democracy protest zone in a dawn raid on Friday, taking down barricades, tents and canopies that have blocked key streets for more than two weeks, but leaving the city's main thoroughfare still in the hands of the activists. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Local residents and a mask-wearing protester gather around a road sign, covered by a slogan on a main street in Mong Kok district in Hong Kong Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. Riot police cleared an offshoot Hong Kong pro-democracy protest zone in a dawn raid on Friday, taking down barricades, tents and canopies that have blocked key streets for more than two weeks, but leaving the city's main thoroughfare still in the hands of the activists. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Riot police remove barricades after they moved in the occupied area by the pro-democracy protesters in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, early Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. Riot police cleared an offshoot Hong Kong pro-democracy protest zone in a dawn raid on Friday, taking down barricades, tents and canopies that have blocked key streets for more than two weeks, but leaving the city's main thoroughfare still in the hands of the activists. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Residents at the side walk watch riot police move in the occupied area by the pro-democracy protesters in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, early Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. Riot police moved in on a Hong Kong pro-democracy protest zone in a dawn raid on Friday, taking down barricades, tents and canopies that have blocked key streets for more than two weeks. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
A man walks past tents and umbrellas set up by pro-democracy protesters at an occupied area near the government headquarters in Hong Kong Thursday, Oct. 16, 2014. Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said Thursday he is ready to start talks as soon as next week with student leaders of the pro-democracy protests that have rocked the city for nearly three weeks. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
A protester raise a flag with Chinese words "I want real universal suffrage" and a guitar in front of barriers against police officers at a main street in Mong Kok district in Hong Kong Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. Riot police cleared an offshoot Hong Kong pro-democracy protest zone in a dawn raid on Friday, taking down barricades, tents and canopies that have blocked key streets for more than two weeks, but leaving the city's main thoroughfare still in the hands of the activists. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Police officers push the protesters out to a nearby park to clear the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Hundreds of Hong Kong police officers moved in early Wednesday to clear pro-democracy protesters out of a tunnel outside the city government headquarters in the latest escalation of tensions in a weekslong political crisis. Officers, many of them in riot gear and wielding pepper spray, tore down barricades and concrete slabs around the underpass. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Police officers push protesters out to a nearby park to clear the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Hundreds of Hong Kong police officers moved in early Wednesday to clear pro-democracy protesters out of a tunnel outside the city government headquarters in the latest escalation of tensions in a weekslong political crisis. Officers, many of them in riot gear and wielding pepper spray, tore down barricades and concrete slabs around the underpass. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Police officers move forward to push protesters out to a nearby park to clear the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Hundreds of Hong Kong police officers moved in early Wednesday to clear pro-democracy protesters out of a tunnel outside the city government headquarters in the latest escalation of tensions in a weekslong political crisis. Officers, many of them in riot gear and wielding pepper spray, tore down barricades and concrete slabs around the underpass. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Protesters use umbrellas to block the pepper spray by Police officers at the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Hundreds of Hong Kong police officers moved in early Wednesday to clear pro-democracy protesters out of a tunnel outside the city government headquarters in the latest escalation of tensions in a weeks long political crisis. Officers, many of them in riot gear and wielding pepper spray, tore down barricades and concrete slabs around the underpass. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Police officers shout as they instruct the protesters to move to a nearby park at the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Hundreds of Hong Kong police officers moved in early Wednesday to clear pro-democracy protesters out of a tunnel outside the city government headquarters in the latest escalation of tensions in a weekslong political crisis. Officers, many of them in riot gear and wielding pepper spray, tore down barricades and concrete slabs around the underpass. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Police officers push protesters out to a nearby park to clear the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Hundreds of Hong Kong police officers moved in early Wednesday to clear pro-democracy protesters out of a tunnel outside the city government headquarters in the latest escalation of tensions in a weeklong political crisis. Officers, many of them in riot gear and wielding pepper spray, tore down barricades and concrete slabs around the underpass. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Protesters raise their hands up as police officers push them out to a nearby park at the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Hundreds of Hong Kong police officers moved in early Wednesday to clear pro-democracy protesters out of a tunnel outside the city government headquarters in the latest escalation of tensions in a weeks long political crisis. Officers, many of them in riot gear and wielding pepper spray, tore down barricades and concrete slabs around the underpass. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Police officers request the protesters to move to a nearby park at the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Hundreds of Hong Kong police officers moved in early Wednesday to clear pro-democracy protesters out of a tunnel outside the city government headquarters in the latest escalation of tensions in a weekslong political crisis. Officers, many of them in riot gear and wielding pepper spray, tore down barricades and concrete slabs around the underpass. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Police officers push the protesters out to a nearby park to clear the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Hundreds of Hong Kong police officers moved in early Wednesday to clear pro-democracy protesters out of a tunnel outside the city government headquarters in the latest escalation of tensions in a weekslong political crisis. Officers, many of them in riot gear and wielding pepper spray, tore down barricades and concrete slabs around the underpass. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Police officers request the protesters to move to a nearby park at the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Hundreds of Hong Kong police officers moved in early Wednesday to clear pro-democracy protesters out of a tunnel outside the city government headquarters in the latest escalation of tensions in a weeks long political crisis. Officers, many of them in riot gear and wielding pepper spray, tore down barricades and concrete slabs around the underpass. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Demonstrators block the underpass with concrete slabs taken from drainage ditches at the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Pro-democracy activists clashed with police and barricaded a tunnel near Hong Kong's government headquarters late Tuesday, expanding their protest zone again after being cleared out of some other streets in the latest escalation of tensions in a weeks long political crisis. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Demonstrators block the underpass with concrete slabs taken from drainage ditches at the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Pro-democracy activists clashed with police and barricaded a tunnel near Hong Kong's government headquarters late Tuesday, expanding their protest zone again after being cleared out of some other streets in the latest escalation of tensions in a week long political crisis. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
A demonstrator helps block the underpass with concrete slabs taken from drainage ditches at the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Pro-democracy activists clashed with police and barricaded a tunnel near Hong Kong's government headquarters late Tuesday, expanding their protest zone again after being cleared out of some other streets in the latest escalation of tensions in a weeks long political crisis. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
A man jabs his fingers in the throat of a pro-democracy protester (C) in the Central district of Hong Kong on October 13, 2014. Hong Kong has been plunged into the worst political crisis since its 1997 handover as pro-democracy activists take over the streets following China's refusal to grant citizens full universal suffrage. AFP PHOTO / ALEX OGLE (Photo credit should read Alex Ogle/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators move barriers as others block the main road with metal and plastic safety barriers outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Pro-democracy activists clashed with police and barricaded a tunnel near Hong Kong's government headquarters late Tuesday, expanding their protest zone again after being cleared out of some other streets in the latest escalation of tensions in a weeks long political crisis. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Demonstrators block the main road with tires outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Pro-democracy activists clashed with police and barricaded a tunnel near Hong Kong's government headquarters late Tuesday, expanding their protest zone again after being cleared out of some other streets in the latest escalation of tensions in a weeklong political crisis. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Demonstrators climb over barriers as others block the main road with metal and plastic safety barriers outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Pro-democracy activists clashed with police and barricaded a tunnel near Hong Kong's government headquarters late Tuesday, expanding their protest zone again after being cleared out of some other streets in the latest escalation of tensions in a weeks long political crisis. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
A demonstrator carries a tire as others blocked the main road with tires outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Pro-democracy activists clashed with police and barricaded a tunnel near Hong Kong's government headquarters late Tuesday, expanding their protest zone again after being cleared out of some other streets in the latest escalation of tensions in a weekslong political crisis. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Demonstrators block the underpass with concrete slabs taken from drainage ditches at the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Pro-democracy activists clashed with police and barricaded a tunnel near Hong Kong's government headquarters late Tuesday, expanding their protest zone again after being cleared out of some other streets in the latest escalation of tensions in a weeks long political crisis. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Demonstrators block the underpass with concrete slabs taken from drainage ditches at the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Pro-democracy activists clashed with police and barricaded a tunnel near Hong Kong's government headquarters late Tuesday, expanding their protest zone again after being cleared out of some other streets in the latest escalation of tensions in a weeks long political crisis. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Police officers push the protesters out to a nearby park to clear the main roads outside government headquarters in Hong Kong's Admiralty, Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014. Hundreds of Hong Kong police officers moved in early Wednesday to clear pro-democracy protesters out of a tunnel outside the city government headquarters in the latest escalation of tensions in a weeks long political crisis. Officers, many of them in riot gear and wielding pepper spray, tore down barricades and concrete slabs around the underpass. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Police officers stand guard after they removed barricades that protesters have set up to block off main roads in Causeway Bay district in Hong Kong Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. The police removed some of the barricades in a shopping district and opened one road that had been blocked by pro-democracy protesters for two weeks. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
HONG KONG - OCTOBER 14: A pro-democracy protester raise his hands in front of police cordon on a street outside of Hong Kong Government Complex on October 14, 2014 in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy protesters took over Lung Wo Road after police cleared off the barricades on Queen's Road. Protesters continue to call for open elections and the resignation of Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
Protesters celebrate following a standoff with police outside the central government offices in Hong Kong on October 14, 2014. Hong Kong police vowed October 14 to tear down more street barricades manned by pro-democracy protesters, hours after hundreds of officers armed with chainsaws and boltcutters partially cleared two major roads occupied for a fortnight. AFP PHOTO/ED JONES (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP/Getty Images)
Pro-democracy demonstrators stand behind umbrellas during a protest in the Admiralty area of Hong Kong, China, on Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014. Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters girded themselves for an anticipated showdown with police who earlier used chain saws and sledgehammers to clear barricades from a major road in the city's business district. Photographer: Lam Yik Fei/Bloomberg via Getty Images
HONG KONG - OCTOBER 14: Pro-democracy protesters use umbrellas to protect themselves from police's pepper spray on a street outside of Hong Kong Government Complex on October 14, 2014 in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy protesters took over Lung Wo Road after police cleared off the barricades on Queen's Road. Protesters continue to call for open elections and the resignation of Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
HONG KONG - OCTOBER 14: Pro-democracy protesters clash with police officers on a street outside of Hong Kong Government Complex on October 14, 2014 in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy protesters took over Lung Wo Road after police cleared off the barricades on Queen's Road. Protesters continue to call for open elections and the resignation of Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying. (Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)
A protester is arrested by riot polices in the occupied area in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, late Friday, Oct. 17, 2014. New scuffles broke out Friday night between Hong Kong riot police and pro-democracy activists in a district where police cleared protesters earlier in the day. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
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HONG KONG (AP) -- Hong Kong's leader has claimed that "external forces" are participating in student-led pro-democracy protests that have occupied parts of this financial capital for more than three weeks, but provided no evidence to back his accusation.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's statement in a televised interview Sunday was the first time he has alleged foreign involvement in the unrest, echoing accusations by China's central government, which also has not backed them with any evidence. Leung's statement comes just before his government is scheduled to hold talks with student leaders on Tuesday.

When asked on the "Newsline" program about a Chinese official's comments on outside involvement, Leung said, "There is obviously participation by people, organizations from outside of Hong Kong." Leung added that the foreign actors came from "different countries in different parts of the world," but didn't specify which countries.

The Hong Kong Federation of Students immediately rejected the accusations, with Secretary General Alex Chow saying Leung was "just making it up."

"He's the chief executive, he's an accountable official," Chow told reporters. "If he's putting forward these accusations, then we hope he also puts forward the evidence. But he shouldn't just say that foreign powers are meddling without evidence."

Protesters, mostly young college students, are pressing for a greater say in choosing the semiautonomous Chinese city's leader in an inaugural direct election, promised by Beijing for 2017. They oppose Beijing's ruling that a committee stacked with pro-Beijing elites should screen candidates in the election. That effectively means that Beijing can vet candidates before they go to a public vote.

In what has become a daily pattern, the police have driven away the students from some streets during the night, only to see them regroup and occupy the areas and resume their sit-ins. The protests stretched into their fourth week Monday with thousands of demonstrators camped out in downtown Hong Kong and two other sites in this city of 7.2 million.

After two nights of violent clashes, protesters and police settled into an uneasy peace in the densely commercial Mong Kok district after two pro-democracy legislators, Fernando Chiu and Claudia Mo, arrived late Sunday night and helped calm tensions.

Earlier Sunday, police spokesman Steve Hui said an unnamed 23-year-old was arrested on the charge of accessing a computer "with criminal or dishonest intent" and unlawful assembly. Hui said the suspect had "incited others on an online forum to join the unlawful assembly in Mong Kok, to charge at police and to paralyze the railways."

It was the first arrest for online protest activity since the demonstrations began.

Police also said Sunday that 33 people had been arrested during the protests on common assault, criminal damage and other charges.

Nearly 300 people have been taken to hospital emergency rooms with injuries related to the protests since Sept. 28, the city's Hospital Authority reported Monday.

Hong Kong Exec: 'External Forces Behind Protest'

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