Hong Kong's leader has accused "foreign forces" of involvement in the Chinese territory's pro-democracy protests.
During a TV interview late Sunday, Leung Chun-ying said the weekslong demonstrations are "not entirely a domestic movement." However, he declined to name the foreign countries or groups he believes are behind the protests.
Leung's comments echo recent commentary in China's state-run media, which has accused the United States and other western countries of manipulating the protests.
Earlier Sunday, Hong Kong police clashed with protesters, deepening a sense of impasse between the government and the pro-democracy movement.
Dozens of police with shields and helmets pushed into a crowd of protesters gathered at barricades in the Mong Kok district. The Associated Press said 20 people were injured in the melee.
The scuffle came hours after Hong Kong's government said it will likely begin talks with student demonstrators on Tuesday.
This comes after nights of clashes between police and pro-democracy protesters who have paralyzed parts of the territory.
Hong Kong Chief Secretary Carrie Lam said Tuesday is the earliest of the three days the government gave to the Hong Kong Federation of Students. She said good progress has been made in preparation for the dialogue.
A few days ago, Leung said he was seeking ways to resume talks with protest leaders that stalled earlier this month after the government backed out.
Leung has said he is open to discussing universal suffrage. But communist authorities in Beijing said they will not change a decision to vet candidates for the territory's 2017 vote and will not enact more electoral reforms.
On Saturday, riot police using pepper spray and batons clashed with dozens of pro-democracy protesters shielding themselves with umbrellas as the protesters continued to occupy a camp in the city's Mong Kok district.
Officials say 26 people were arrested and 15 police were injured in the early morning scuffle.
Pre-dawn raid Friday
During a pre-dawn raid Friday, hundreds of police tore down barricades, tents and canopies that had blocked city streets in the Mong Kok district for more than two weeks.
Occupy Central, which has led the civil disobedience campaign, condemned the raid, saying the government is "creating obstacles to dialogue."
Police have clashed with demonstrators several times to unblock city streets since late September when protesters occupied the city's center to press China to stop interfering in upcoming local elections.