The leader of a pro-government group has urged members of the press to leave their protesters alone and to respect their privacy.

Robert Chow, from the Alliance for Peace and Democracy, made the comments as lawmakers prepared to vote on proposals that would allow Hong Kongers to directly elect their chief executive in 2017, albeit from a pool of candidates vetted by a pro-Beijing nominating committee.

Verbal conflicts between protesters from both camps. Photo: Eric Cheung.

Hundreds of supporters from Chow’s group gathered outside LegCo on Wednesday as lawmakers discussed the package. Police were present to prevent supporters from opposing sides of the debate clashing with each other.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Chow called on the media to leave its supporters alone and to leave their protest zone outside LegCo whenever the group was having a private meeting. The area outside LegCo, however, is a public space.

Previously, local media reported that those taking part in pro-government rallies were paid to participate and that some taking part did not know what the rally was about.

There were no serious clashes on Wednesday, however some minor scuffles broke out in the evening when a small group of protesters from the pan-democrat side followed those taking part in the pro-government rallies from Tamar Park to Central Ferry pier. Those on the pan-democrat side wanted to see if they were getting paid to take part in the rally.

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Vicky Wong

Vicky is a British-born Chinese journalist with three years of experience covering UK politics. She previously worked for PoliticsHome and has interned at Sky News and CNN International. She also co-produced and filmed a documentary about the Hong Kong protests for MSNBC, which won the grand student prize at the 2015 Human Rights Press Awards. She has a BA in Politics and International Relations from the University of Reading and moved to Hong Kong in 2014 to complete a journalism masters at the University of Hong Kong.