Anti-government demonstrators protest during the 2020 countdown on New Year’s Eve in Hong Kong. Reuters
Hong Kong police used tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons against anti-government protesters over New Year's Eve and into the early hours of Wednesday, extending the months-long movement into a new year.
The police actions were focused on the more industrial and working class districts on the city's Kowloon side where protesters were watching a New Year's light show. Afterward, protesters marched into a densely populated shopping district in a prelude to an annual pro-democracy march expected to be attended by tens or hundreds of thousands Wednesday afternoon.
The protests began in June over proposed legislation that could have allowed residents to be extradited to China where they could face possible torture and unfair trials. The legislation was withdrawn, but not before the protests expanded to wider calls for reforms in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Hong Kong toned down its New Year's celebrations amid the protests, which have dealt severe blows to the city's retail, tourism and nightlife sectors.
Protesters also gathered at the Prince Edward subway station where police four months ago had rushed in, beating and tear gassing demonstrators who had no way to flee. That incident is among many cited by demonstrators as cases of police abuse for which no one has been held accountable.
The international financial hub has been shaken by historic demonstrations in the past three weeks, driven by demands for the withdrawal of a bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.
The three-minute video showcases the PLA's tanks, helicopter gunfire, rocket launchers and other military hardware in action in Hong Kong, as well as heavily armed troops performing an anti-terrorism drill.
Out in numbers before the demonstration began, police intervened promptly when the rally turned into an impromptu march. Several units of police in riot gear were seen chasing protesters and several arrests were made.
Ventus Lau was arrested on Sunday evening on charges of "obstruction of police administration" and violating terms set when permission was granted for the protest, the Hong Kong Civil Assembly Team said in a statement.
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