Police defend handling of protests

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HONG KONG (AP) — Police in Hong Kong are defending their use of tear gas and other tactics to control the protests that have paralyzed the city's financial district.

And they are appealing to the thousands of pro-democracy protesters to stop the unprecedented mass act of civil disobedience -- for the sake of safety and stability.

The use of tear gas yesterday appears to have backfired -- judging from the growing crowds today. People who finished work joined the weary-looking students who are camped on major roads near the city's government headquarters and in several other parts of Hong Kong.

Police say they used 87 rounds of tear gas yesterday in what they said was a necessary but restrained response to efforts by protesters to push through barricades.

Despite China's promises to allow greater democracy in Hong Kong -- a semi-autonomous territory that was once a British colony -- Beijing decided last month that candidates in Hong Kong's first-ever election for its top leader would have to be hand-picked by a committee of tycoons that largely support the Chinese government.

Many in Hong Kong support the calls for greater democracy, but others are worried by the unrest.

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176-a-12-(Fiona Chao (chow), Hong Kong protester, in interview)-"never come out"-Hong Kong protester Fiona Chao says she's fed up with Beijing's influence on Hong Kong, and with Hong Kong's chief executive. COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory on-air credit)) (29 Sep 2014)

<<CUT *176 (09/29/14)££ 00:12 "never come out"

175-a-07-(Henry Wang, 26-year-old lawyer, in interview)-"to join us"-Henry Wang, a 26-year old lawyer who says he's been on the streets since the beginning of the protest, thinks the number of people defying Beijing will continue to grow. ((note morning refers to Monday morning)) COURTESY: Sky News ((mandatory on-air credit)) (29 Sep 2014)

<<CUT *175 (09/29/14)££ 00:07 "to join us"

APPHOTO XWM112: Pro-democracy protesters flood the Central financial district in Hong Kong Monday, Sept. 29, 2014. Protesters expanded their rallies throughout Hong Kong on Monday, defying calls to disperse in a major pushback against Beijing's decision to limit democratic reforms in the Asian financial hub. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E) (29 Sep 2014)

<<APPHOTO XWM112 (09/29/14)££

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