From Fawkes masks to tear gases, this is how Hong Kongers welcomed New Year

What was being said as peaceful 'pro-democracy' protest in Hong Kong turned as chaotic as it could get when hundreds were arrested and tens of thousands spiralled into chaotic scenes with the police firing tear gas to disperse the crowds — that's how Hong Kongers welcomed New Year 2020!

Call for democratic reforms

A peaceful pro-democracy demonstration on New Year's Day to call for better governance and democratic reforms of tens of thousands spiralled into chaotic scenes with police firing tear gas to disperse the crowd.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Arrests

Fresh arrests take the total toll to about 7,000 since protests in the city escalated over a now-withdrawn bill that would have allowed extradition to mainland China. 

(Photograph:Reuters)

Unlawful assembly!

Senior Superintendent Ng Lok-Chun added in a media briefing that the arrests were made for offences including unlawful assembly and possession of offensive weapons.

(Photograph:Reuters)

We stand with them!

"The government has already started the oppression before the New Year began, whoever is being oppressed  and detained, we will stand with them," said Jimmy Sham, one of the leaders of the Civil Human Rights Front that organised the pro-democratic march on New Year's Day.

(Photograph:Reuters)

The way out

Organisers estimated just over one million people took part, but police said 60,000 protesters attended at the march's peak.

A group of 40 parliamentarians and dignitaries from 18 countries had written an open letter to Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam on New Year's Eve, urging her to "seek genuine ways forward out of this crisis by addressing the grievances of Hong Kong people."

(Photograph:Reuters)

'Happy' New Year?

"It's hard to utter 'Happy New Year' because Hong Kong people are not happy," said a man named Tung, who was walking with his two-year-old son, mother and niece.

"Unless the five demands are achieved, and police are held accountable for their brutality, then we can't have a real happy new year," he added.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Prosperity and stability?

China's President Xi Jinping said in a New Year's speech that Beijing will "resolutely safeguard the prosperity and stability" of Hong Kong under the "one country, two systems" framework.

(Photograph:Reuters)