Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive defended the performance of his city's police officers, saying that they had shown “patience and tolerance” during the protests, unlike the treatment they might receive in some Western countries, including the U.S. or U.K. 

Leung's comments in an interview reported by the South China Morning Post, come after Hong Kong police have faced criticism at home and abroad for their tactics when dealing with the pro-democracy protesters, who have occupied parts of the city for almost a month now.

A video showing a group of plainclothes police violently assaulting a protester who had his hands cuffed behind his back recently caused outrage in the city, and lead to the officers being transferred to other duties. Police use of tear gas and pepper spray against protesters has also come in for criticism. 

Former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa supported also joined in the political fray Saturday, asking demonstrators to stop protesting because Hong Kong’s economy had started suffering severely.

"In civilized societies, conflicts are resolved through dialogue, not in the streets," Tung said, according to SCMP, adding: "Students should not use the occupation as a bargaining chip with the government."

Pro-democracy protesters are set to participate in a poll on Sunday to determine whether the protests leaders should accept the proposals for negotiations that were made by the region’s authorities during the failed talks earlier this week. People wanting to vote would have to give their mobile numbers and have to show identification.