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Hong Kong to end year with protests

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HONG KONG: Hong Kong will end 2019 with multiple protests planned for New Year's Eve and New Year's Day aimed at disrupting festivities and shopping in the Asian financial hub, which has seen a rise in clashes between police and protesters since Christmas.

Events dubbed "Suck The Eve" and "Shop With You" are scheduled for New Year's Eve around the city, including in the party district of Lan Kwai Fong, Hong Kong's picturesque Victoria Harbour and popular shopping malls, according to notices circulated on social media.

A New Year's Day march on Jan 1, has been given police permission and will start from a large park in bustling Causeway Bay and end in the central business district, said its organiser, the Civil Human Rights Front.

The latest planned protests come after a pick up in clashes since Christmas Eve when riot police fired rounds of tear gas at thousands of protesters after scuffles in shopping malls and in a prime tourist district.

Yesterday, Hong Kong police accused activists in the long-running pro-democracy movement of inciting minors to commit crimes.

Chief police spokesman Kwok Ka Chuen said: "Over the weekend, during our arrest operation, we arrested a large number of youngsters and are alarmed that some criminals incite youngsters to commit crimes."

Mr Kwok said some of the violence had been inspired by the children's teachers.

Children as young as 12 have been among the nearly 7,000 people arrested during the protests, which have drawn broad support and were sparked by now-discarded legislation that would have allowed citizens of the semi-autonomous Chinese city to be sent to mainland China for trial. - REUTERS, AP