Hong Kong — Pro-democracy protesters took no break despite the holiday season.
Crowds clad in black and face masks gathered in the Mong Kok shopping district yesterday (Dec 25) and chanted anti-government slogans. As tourists and idle shoppers wearing Santa hats and reindeer antlers walked past, protesters clashed with police officers.
The police fired tear gas at the protesters in Mong Kok and used pepper spray against others in a Sha Tin shopping mall. The mall was reportedly forced to close early due to the confrontation.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam posted on Facebook that many residents and tourists were dismayed at the protests and that their Christmas Eve celebrations had been ruined.
She described the protests as “illegal acts” that “dampened the festive mood”, as quoted in a report by Reuters.
On Tuesday (Dec 24), protesters barricaded a road and reportedly trashed a Starbucks cafe and an HSBC branch, two businesses that have taken a controversial stand against them.
Police then fired tear gas at the demonstrators. Twenty-five people with injuries were taken to hospital. One man fell from the second floor of a shopping mall while trying to flee from the police.
While protesters trashed pro-Beijing businesses, they supported local businesses that sympathised with pro-democracy sentiments and housed the protesters from police violence or provided them with aid.
One such establishment included a small diner in Tsim Tsa Tsui, which served a simple Christmas dinner for protesters and gave them free fried chicken and noodles./TISG