Hong Kong police arrested 37 protesters for disorderly conduct and criminal damage in the busy shopping district of Mong Kok overnight, the city government said Friday.
The 26 men and 11 women were arrested after protesters blocked roads and caused chaos in the area last night, the government said in a statement. Police condemned the protesters for disregarding safety and hurting public order.
The number of the arrests was the biggest since police cleared barriers blocking the main street in major areas mid-December, after 10 weeks of pro-democracy protests.
The student-led pro-democracy protesters had blockaded several main roads and streets in busy areas since Sept. 28 for more than 70 days, criticizing Beijing's decision on Aug. 31 to restrict candidates for Hong Kong's 2017 chief executive election to those approved by a pro-China nominating panel. Meanwhile, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Friday praised Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying and his team for maintaining Hong Kong's in difficult times, the city government said in a separate statement. "The (Chinese) central government will not change its fundamental policy on Hong Kong," Li told Leung during their talks in Beijing. The premier also expressed confidence in Hong Kong's future, saying it is one of the world's top finance centres. For his part, the Hong Kong leader thanked the central government and Li for their support, particularly with the introduction of Hong Kong-Shanghai Stock Connect.