Some 400 protestors were arrested by police in Hong Kong after hundreds of thousands of people reportedly attended a New Year’s Day march in the city, in the latest round of anti-government demonstrations.
Riot police were deployed and tear gas fired after police officials blamed radical protestors for “hijacking” the march, which was initially permitted by authorities before they attempted to shut it down.
“The government is not willing to back down at this moment,” protestor Grace Ng told the New York Times. “I want the government to compromise, but I think there isn’t enough international attention at the moment to make them bow down to the people.”
The Civil Human Rights Front condemned the arrests, stating that the march was attended by a million people. “The government has shown its unwillingness to listen to the voices of the mass and it has infringed on their right to assembly,” it said in a statement. “Hong Kongers shall not back down and peace shall not resume with the ongoing police brutality.”
As of last week, 6,494 people have been arrested since protests began in June, reports The Guardian.
The latest demonstration came as China’s Premier Xi Jinping mentioned the protests in his New Year’s Day address, saying that “Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability is the wish of Hong Kong compatriots and the expectation for the people of the motherland”.