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Crowd tries to charge Hong Kong democracy protest

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HONG KONG, Oct 13 (AP) - An angry crowd tried to charge barricades used by pro-democracy protesters to occupy part of downtown Hong Kong as a standoff with authorities dragged into a third week. Several hundred people, many of them middle aged or older men, gathered in front of barricades on a main road Monday, chanting, "Open the road!" They were held back by a line of police officers. Some people in the crowd tried to remove the metal barricades that protesters have set up to block off main roads near the heart of the city's financial district. They also shouted, "Occupy Central is illegal," referring to one of the names of the pro-democracy movement that has swept Hong Kong. Taxi drivers also joined in, with some driving their cabs up to the barricades and leaning on their horns to ex-press their anger about the traffic disruptions. The protesters faced them from the other side of the barricades. Police took away some masked men inside the protest zone who tried to pick fights with the protesters. Protester Alex Kwok said he received a scratch on his arm after he was attacked by several men whom he ac-cused of being members of triads, or organized crime gangs. Demonstrators, many of them university students, have flooded the city's streets since Sept. 28 in a civil disobe-dience movement opposing restrictions on the territory's inaugural 2017 election for its top leader. They want authorities to drop a plan to use a pro-Beijing committee to screen candidates in the election. They also want the semiautonomous Chinese city's Beijing-backed leader to resign. Tens of thousands of protesters have occupied busy roads outside the city government headquarters as well as in two busy shopping districts elsewhere to press their demands but their numbers have since dwindled.