Hong Kong cops fire tear gas into protesters, including families
HONG KONG Hong Kong police said they had arrested "around 400" people yesterday after a massive New Year's Day pro-democracy rally saw clashes between police and hardcore protesters.
The arrests were made for offences including "unlawful assembly and possession of offensive weapons", senior superintendent Jim Ng said at a press conference.
More than a million people had thronged Hong Kong's streets for a New Year's Day pro-democracy rally, organisers claimed, as the protesters looked to carry their movement's momentum into 2020.
Initially peaceful, the march soon spiralled into chaotic scenes as police fired rounds of tear gas and water cannon at crowds, including families, before the event was cut short.
Many in Hong Kong are angered by Beijing's tight grip on the city, which was promised a high degree of autonomy under the current framework when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
The atmosphere grew tense in several districts on Hong Kong island, as hundreds of protesters dug in, forming road blocks, setting fires and throwing a few petrol bombs.
Human chains formed down roads to help ferry supplies to people on the frontlines.
In a New Year's address on Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping had called for Hong Kong to return to stability.
"Hong Kong's prosperity and stability is the wish of Hong Kong compatriots and the expectation for the people of the motherland," he said in his speech.
It had little effect,with protesters yesterday carrying signs such as "Freedom is not free" while marching.
- REUTERS, AP