Police fire tear gas as Hong Kong rings in New Year

Hong Kong police fired tear gas a few minutes into 2020 on Wednesday as pro-democracy protesters took their movement into the new year with midnight countdown rallies and an enormous march planned for January 1.

The city has been battered by more than six months of unrest with marches attended by millions, as well as confrontations in which police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets – and protesters have responded with petrol bombs.

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Before midnight on Tuesday, thousands of protesters gathered across the financial hub, including along the waterfront of Victoria Harbour and at nightlife hotspot Lan Kwai Fong.

Protesters at the harbourfront counted down chanting: “Ten! Nine! Liberate Hong Kong, revolution now!” as they lit up their phones in a sea of lights.

Smaller crowds of protesters in the Mong Kok district set fire to barricades early on Wednesday, prompting riot police to unleash 2020’s first volleys of tear gas in response.

Shortly before the final day of 2019 drew to a close, police used water cannon to disperse protesters in the same area while, in nearby Prince Edward neighbourhood, officers arrested several protesters staging a candlelight vigil.

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