Christmas Eve in Hong Kong, ordinarily a night of revelry, was instead one of violence as democracy activists clashed with the police in a popular shopping district.
The protesters – some wearing Santa hats and reindeer antlers, The Associated Press reported – took to the streets after a period of relative calm in the city.
On Tuesday, thousands of protesters flooded the Tsim Sha Tsui shopping district and clashed with the police, who launched tear gas and were reported to have fired rubber bullets.
The police said some protesters had built barricades, dug up bricks, vandalized stores and thrown fire bombs, the AP reported.
One clash took place outside one of Hong Kong’s most expensive hotels, the Peninsula. Other protests were staged in malls. Video showed a protester leaping from a balcony at one mall after clashing with the police. They said he was being treated for injuries at a hospital.
months, protesters have staged regular demonstrations, some violent, against the central government in Beijing and its efforts to exert control over the semiautonomous territory.
In the Mong Kok neighborhood, a man was assaulted after getting into a dispute with protesters.