Anti-government protesters returned to the streets of Hong Kong over the Christmas holiday, clashing with riot police in malls and busy shopping districts across the semiautonomous Chinese territory.
The city’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam, accused the demonstrators of ruining the holiday. Her critics say the government and police used unnecessarily heavy-handed tactics to disperse what began as peaceful gatherings, albeit without official permission.
Hundreds of black-clad protesters, many wearing reindeer antlers, occupied malls and other shopping areas on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as part of the months-long campaign for democratic and police reforms in the city.
Police accused the protesters of “rioting” and vandalism, and attempted to disperse them using pepper spray and batons while indoors, and firing tear gas and deploying water cannons on the streets.