Clashes erupted between pro-democracy protesters and supporters of the Chinese regime at a Hong Kong shopping mall Saturday. Tensions began when hundreds of the pro-Beijing crowd sang the national anthem, waved red flags and chanted slogans at the packed mall. Opposing protesters quickly assembled, The Associated Press reported, and the two sides began heckling each other. The situation deteriorated as groups spilled out onto the streets and started fighting. Baton-wielding cops moved in to break up the skirmishes, and several were arrested, Reuters said. The altercations came amid the mid-autumn festival holiday, after supporters of the pro-democracy protests moved from the streets to shopping malls, where they’ve been singing. Anti-government protesters and cops had brief scuffles in other parts of the city as well. The confrontations were minor compared with the violence that marked previous protests during the months-long effort to loosen China’s grip on the semi-autonomous city. Thousands of people also carried lanterns with pro-democracy messages in public areas and formed illuminated human chains on two of the city’s peaks on Friday night to mark the major Chinese festival.
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