A vigil in Tseung Kwan O that marked the passing of a student was interrupted late on Wednesday as riot police clashed with protesters.
Officers fired pepper spray and detained at least two people, including an assistant of a district councillor.
In a statement, police claimed that protesters blocked the road by “building barricades with trash and rubbish bins, paralysing traffic in the vicinity.”
During the evening, over 200 people attended the vigil at a Tseung Kwan O car park, the site where university student Alex Chow fell to his death two months ago.
The circumstances around Chow’s death remain unclear, though his fall coincided with a police operation nearby.
Mourners lit candles and placed flowers at a makeshift shrine, as they observed a minute’s silence for Chow.
Some also shouted slogans such as “Liberate Hong Kong, the revolution of our times” and “Disband the police now.”
At around 10pm, black-clad protesters blocked an intersection outside Sheung Tak Plaza, but quickly dispersed after riot police arrived.
Some protesters later set up an umbrella formation near Kwong Ming Court and dug up bricks from the pavement.
Riot police at the scene warned that people at the scene were participating in an unlawful assembly, and that tear gas may be used.
Clashes escalated at around 10:30pm when plainclothes officers subdued a man.
Riot police later sprayed another man in the face with blue liquid.
According to local media, one man wore an orange vest bearing the name “Kelvin Yip” and was the assistant to newly elected district councillor Isaac Lee.
Lee told reporters that his assistant would go to clashes and try to reduce tensions, and said he suspected the assistant was arrested for carrying a shield, according to RTHK.
Scattered clashes continued until the early hours of Thursday, as some protesters continued to block roads and damage traffic lights.
The strong police presence also provoked shouting matches between officers and residents in the neighbourhood.
Protests erupted last June over a now-axed extradition bill. They have escalated into sometimes violent displays of dissent against police behaviour amid calls for democracy and anger over Beijing’s encroachment.
Hong Kong Free Press relies on direct reader support. Help safeguard independent journalism and press freedom as we invest more in freelancers, overtime, safety gear & insurance during this summer’s protests. 10 ways to support us.