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Pro-democracy protesters flock to sites in Hong Kong to ring in new year

Pro-democracy protesters flock to sites in Hong Kong to ring in new year
© Getty Images

A combination of protesters and people celebrating the new year took to the streets of Hong Kong despite plans for a more sedate celebration amid the demonstrations that have rocked the city since early summer, according to The Associated Press.

The city canceled its usual fireworks display over Victoria Harbor and set up barricades and road closures in some parts of the Lan Kwai Fong nightlife district, according to the AP. The semi-autonomous city, which was a British colony until 1997, traditionally places more emphasis on New Year's celebrations than China, which reserves the biggest celebrations for the Lunar New Year.

The protests began in June after Chief Executive Carrie Lam introduced legislation that would allow the extradition of certain criminal suspects to China. Lam has since withdrawn the bill but the protests have continued, with demonstrators calling for her resignation, direct election of future leaders and a probe into police brutality against protesters.

Demonstrators have turned out on major holidays before, including Halloween and Christmas Eve, according to the AP, amid calls circulating through social media to form human chains in malls.