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HONG KONG PROTESTS

Police again fire tear gas as thousands hit streets in fresh wave of protests

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Some protesters, equipped with gas masks, built barricades and blocked roads near luxury stores, including Armani, while others headed towards Hung Hom, a district near the ruined campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Hong Kong

POLICE fired tear gas to disperse thousands of anti-government protesters in Hong Kong on Sunday, after a rare lull in violence, as residents took to the streets chanting "revolution of our time" and "liberate Hong Kong".

The protest in the bustling shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui came after hundreds of people had marched to the US consulate to show "gratitude" for US support for the demonstrations that have roiled the China-ruled financial hub for six months.

Police made several arrests as the tear gas sent hundreds fleeing towards the harbour.

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Hong Kong had enjoyed relative calm for the past week since local district elections last Sunday delivered an overwhelming victory to pro-democracy candidates.

Activists pledged, however, to maintain the momentum of the anti-government movement that has seen protests roil the former British colony since June, at times forcing government offices, businesses, schools and even the international airport to shut.

Some protesters, equipped with gas masks, built barricades and blocked roads near luxury stores, including Armani, while others headed towards Hung Hom, a district near the ruined campus of Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

The campus turned into a battleground in mid-November when protesters barricaded themselves in and faced off riot police in violent clashes of petrol bombs, water cannon and tear gas.

About 1,100 people were arrested last week, some while trying to desperately escape.

Earlier in the day, hundreds of protesters waved American flags, with some donning Donald Trump logo hats and t-shirts, as they unfurled a banner depicting the US president standing astride a tank with a US flag behind him.

Mr Trump last week signed into law congressional legislation that supported protesters in the city, despite angry objections from Beijing.

In the morning, hundreds of protesters marched against police use of tear gas.

Police have fired around 10,000 rounds of tear gas since June, the city's Secretary for Security John Lee said last week.

Sunday's marches came as a top Hong Kong official said the government was looking into setting up an independent committee to review the handling of the crisis, in which demonstrations have become increasingly violent.

The protesters are angry at what they see as Chinese meddling in the freedoms promised to the former British colony when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Further protests are planned through the week. REUTERS