Hong Kong protesters held paper-burning protests in Wong Tai Sin and Sha Tin on Friday, which resulted in police arresting five people for unlawful assembly.
Protesters gathered on the roadside in Wong Tai Sin at around 8pm, and burnt offerings and joss paper – some bearing the image of Chief Executive Carrie Lam and police commissioner Stephen Lo. A picture of pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho’s face was also attached to a paper dummy.
Dozens were seen at the Wong Tai Sin Square, outside the neighbourhood bus terminal, as well as the intersection of Tung Tau Tsuen Road and Shatin Pass Road.
Organisers of the protest – which imitated traditional Chinese rituals – said they wanted to “pray for blessings and ward off evils.” Under Hong Kong law, religious gatherings do not require prior approval from the police.
After 9pm, some protesters moved to the nearby Wong Tai Sin Disciplined Services Quarters and burnt offerings at the road outside. Officers appeared on the scene with police dogs.
Objects were also thrown from above and landed near protesters.
The Disciplined Services Quarters had been the site of multiple violent clashes over the past week, with police firing tear gas nearby last Sunday and Monday.
Police and protesters were locked in a standoff, until police in riot gear emerged after 11pm.
Police began clearance operations at around midnight, as some officers in riot gear ran into the crowd of protesters and made arrests. Some people at the scene reported being hurt by police batons.
Five men were arrested for unlawful assembly, with one 17-year-old man arrested for failing to produce identification documents.
All remaining protesters dispersed shortly before 1am.
The grassroots residential neighbourhood of Wong Tai Sin has become a protest flashpoint in August, with the Disciplined Services Quarter being singled out as a target for protesters.
On the August 5 general strike, protesters occupied Lung Cheung Road – the main thoroughfare in the area – and kicked off hours of clashes that saw police regularly fire tear gas.