Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong marched in several shopping malls chanting pro-democracy slogans Wednesday, after a day of violent clashes with police leaving a major tourist area decorated for Christmas, covered with tear gas.
The protests that escalated in June remained largely peaceful during most of December after pro-democracy candidates won an overwhelming majority in local elections in the previous month.
But Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leaders did not make any concessions to the demonstrators despite admitting defeat in the elections, and the demonstrations turned into more confrontations during the celebration period.
Riot police organized patrols in many of the previous hotspots during the protests as tourists and shoppers, many of them wearing Santa caps or reindeer horns, were roaming around.
“Hospital Authority said that 25 people were injured last night”
Television footage showed police spraying a man with pepper spray and then arresting him outside a shopping mall in the densely populated Mong Kok district.
Hundreds of protesters, dressed in black clothes and masks, landed in shopping centers across the Chinese-ruled city, mingling with shoppers and chanting popular slogans such as “Free Hong Kong! The Revolution of Our Time!”
“Most stores remained open amid protests in Hong Kong”
On Tuesday, police with batons fired tear gas at thousands of protesters who blocked roads, wrote slogans with paint on buildings and smashed a Starbucks coffee shop and a branch of HSBC. A water cannon truck surrounded by armored jeeps roamed the streets, but was not used extensively.
The Hospital Authority said that 25 people were injured last night, including a man who fell from the second floor to the first in a shopping center trying to escape from the police, and another one who fell from the roof of a restaurant. It was not clear if the latter was linked to the protests.