Demonstrators from Hong Kong and the police met for the third consecutive day during the Christmas holidays when the demonstrators pledged to return to the New Year.
Police fired pepper spray and blue dye at demonstrators, chanted anti-government and anti-police slogans, marched in shopping malls. In other stores, conflicts broke out when police arrested more than 300 people.
Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam accused demonstrators of “destroying” holidays by protesting on Christmas Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. Police said 165 people were arrested on Christmas Eve when the police threw tear gas to thousands gathered outside stores and hotels.
The government sentenced demonstrators on Thursday for using violence. “Unprecedented violence, unscrupulous and organized destruction has become the norm,” the statement said.
More than six months of protests remained beaten in Hong Kong, consolidating the reputation of the Financial Center for Stability and helping to bring the city into recession.
Violent Collisions in Hong Kong on Christmas Eve – video
Many shopping centers in the city have become regular protest sites as demonstrators try to cause economic disruption and pressure on the pro-Beijing city leadership.
Last month there was a relative decline in violence and protests after pro-democratic candidates won avalanches in local elections.
However, as Beijing and city officials refused further concessions, rallies and clashes ruled during the Christmas season. Christmas Eve was the scene of the worst violence in weeks when demonstrators and police fought for hours in a busy shopping district.
Protest groups say they have little choice but to use an increasingly radical tactic as Beijing and Lam continue to refuse to make concessions.
Heads of the population protest against the Beijing government and the semi-autonomous administration of the city because they promote greater democratic freedoms and police accountability.
The protests were initially triggered by a now abandoned attempt to extradite to the authoritarian mainland.
Since then, they have turned into a popular revolt against Beijing control, with growing concern that the city is losing some of its unique freedoms.
Demonstrators’ demands include investigating alleged police brutality, amnesty for more than 6,000 arrests, and the right to elect a Hong Kong leader.
China denies restrictions on freedoms in Hong Kong and painted the protest movement as a foreign-funded plot to destabilize the homeland, rejecting any illegal political movements as illegal.
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