Clashes break out between police and vendors in Hong Kong over Chinese New Year

World Today

Smoke rises as protestors set fires on a street in the Mong Kok district of Hong Kong, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. Hong Kong’s Lunar New Year celebration descended into chaotic scenes as protesters and police clashed over a street market selling fish balls and other local holiday delicacies. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Riot police used batons and pepper spray early on Tuesday to quell fights after authorities tried to move street vendors from Mong Kok district in Hong Kong.

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The street vendors were thought to be operating illegally and responded to the police action by hurling bricks at them, with clashes breaking out late Monday evening, while others set fire to rubbish bins in the neighborhood.

A police spokeswoman said on Tuesday that police fired two shots into the air amid the chaotic scenes.

“To ensure public safety and public order, police took resolute actions, including using baton and pepper spray, to stop the unlawful violent acts,” police said in a statement.

More than 100 protesters remained in a stand-off with officers early on Tuesday during the Chinese New Year holiday, when most of the city is shut down, with rubbish bins and flower pots in flames nearby.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-yin has condemned the mob activities and the attacks on police officers and reporters. He said the police cannot rule out that the riot was premeditated.

Police said in a statement that 24 people aged 17 to 35 were arrested for assaulting a police officer and obstructing police, while 48 police officers were injured in the clash. Roads and metro stations in Mong Kok were closed temporarily.

Story by CCTV NEWS.