Hong Kong starts 2020 with more protests and new clashes with the Police

Hong Kong starts 2020 with more protests and new clashes with the Police
New Year's Eve demonstration in Hong Kong. (Reuters)

Thousands of Hong Kong people took to the streets of the financial city in a New Year’s march that was aimed at asking citizens to continue protesting during 2020

Hong Kong started the new year with celebrations more muted than usual that were overshadowed by the acts of protest recorded throughout the night from Tuesday to Wednesday and by the renewed clashes in the streets between protesters and police officers.

Although the fighting was not as intense as on other occasions, the Mong Kok shopping district saw the most radical protesters block roads, set fires and interrupt traffic, reports the South China Morning Post newspaper.

In response, the police threw tear gas and rubber balls to disperse the protesters, the body itself confirmed in a statement. In the neighbouring Yau Ma Tei district, at least five rounds of tear gas were fired during the early morning, shortly after police warned protesters who were participating in an illegal assembly.

Shortly before, more than a thousand people formed human chains in several districts to block roads and sing slogans, while others entered shopping centers to ask people not to forget what happened in 2019 and to continue protesting in 2020.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people are expected to join a new year’s march organized by the Civil Human Rights Front, a group that has managed to mobilize more than one million people on other occasions.

Although the police have authorized this march, in a video posted on their website warns that if the protesters use violence “people will not support them” and the agents will have no choice but to proceed to arrest them.

The protests came massively to the streets of Hong Kong on June 9 following a controversial extradition bill, already withdrawn by the Government, but have mutated to become a movement that seeks to improve Hong’s democratic mechanisms Kong and an opposition to Beijing authoritarianism. However, some protesters have opted for more radical tactics than peaceful protest and violent clashes with the Police have been common.

The months of protests have put Hong Kong’s economy in recession for the first time in a decade, after contracting 2.9% in the third quarter, affected by the drop in imports and exports, of retail sales and by the decreasing figures of tourism.