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Police: Hundreds arrested in Hong Kong during protests on New Year’s Day

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Hong Kong authorities arrested about 400 people during protests on the first day of the new year, after a peaceful pro-democracy march with tens of thousands of people turned into chaotic scenes as police fired tear gas to disperse crowds.

This brought the number of detainees to about 7,000 since protests escalated in the city in June over a bill, which was no longer on the table, that would have allowed extradition to China. The arrests highlight the apparent lack of progress towards ending the unrest.

Tensions rose on Wednesday after some arrests took place in Wan Chai near the HSBC bank branch, which has been the target of protesters’ anger in recent weeks.

When the protests erupted, large numbers of black protesters rushed to go to the scene, while other protesters formed human chains to provide them with various supplies, including stones, forcing the police to send reinforcements.

The police asked the march organizers to cancel it early and the crowds eventually dispersed after the police used a water cannon truck and deployed dozens of riot police on the streets in the late evening.

Other arrests took place when protesters briefly occupied a major avenue in the Kowloon Peninsula as crowds of thousands counted down the length of Victoria Harbor until midnight.

Some protesters claim that HSBC is involved in actions by the authorities against activists trying to raise funds to support their campaign. The bank denies any role in this.

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