According to the Rappler online news website, Hong Kong police fired tear gas a few minutes into 2020 as pro-democracy protesters took their movement into the new year with midnight countdown rallies and a massive march planned for January 1.
The city has been battered by more than 6 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.
Before midnight on Tuesday, December 31, 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 harborfront 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 – and riot police unleashed 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 neighborhood, officers arrested several protesters staging a candlelight vigil.
"Thanks to 2019, which tore off the ugly masks of the police and the government, and let the people see the truth," said protester Kris, a medic who joined protest.