Hong Kong protests continue into new year

Protesters have continued their demonstrations in Hong Kong Credit: Vincent Yu/AP

Hong Kong police used tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons against anti-government protesters over New Year’s Eve and into the early hours of Wednesday, extending the months-long movement into a new year.

The police actions were focused on the more industrial and working class districts on the city’s Kowloon side where protesters were watching a New Year’s light show.

Afterward, protesters marched into a densely populated shopping district in a prelude to an annual pro-democracy march expected to be attended by thousands on Wednesday afternoon.

The protests began in June over proposed legislation that could have allowed residents to be extradited to China where they could face possible torture and unfair trials.

The legislation was withdrawn, but not before the protests expanded to wider calls for reforms in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

Hong Kong toned down its New Year’s celebrations amid the demonstrations, which have dealt severe blows to the city’s retail, tourism and nightlife sectors.