Anti-government protesters set up barricades and light fires in standoffs with officers
Riot police have charged at hundreds of protesters in a busy downtown district in Hong Kong after some demonstrators had started a fire outside a police station.
Earlier in the day, protests broke out in several areas of Hong Kong as security measures tightened at the airport in an attempt to stop protesters plans to paralyse the travel hub.
The confrontations came as anti-government demonstrations, aimed at drawing global attention to the semi-autonomous Chinese citys political crisis, came to the end of their 13th week.
On Saturday night, the crowds chanted anti-police slogans and sang provocative songs outside the Mong Kok police station and shone laser beams at riot officers. They built make-shift barricades with roadside barriers and other objects, and as police threatened to fire rubber bullets and sponge rounds, some started a fire.
Reclaim Hong Kong! Revolution of the era! many chanted. The fire was put out minutes later by the fire services.
Riot police then began to charge at protesters, chasing them into surrounding streets. But many remained in the area and led the police in a game of cat and mouse. The police presence in the area remained heavy as of late Saturday. Some passersby verbally attacked protesters for causing disruptions.
Mong Kok has become a hotspot for protests during the past week as emotions ran high after violent clashes took place last Saturday inside the Prince Edward station, in which police rushed in and brutally beat a number of protesters inside a train carriage. The police attack fuelled rumours of deaths and a large number of flowers have been left outside the entrance of the metro station.
A small group tried to submit a petition to urge the MTR metro company to release CCTV footage of the police on Saturday afternoon at the station, shortly before staff announced its closure.
A similar protest took place outside the Mong Kok police station late on Friday, prompting riot police to fire teargas and bean bag rounds as some had built barricades on streets and set fire to them.
Hong Kongs government said on Saturday that reports of people dying as a result of the police action were false and malicious rumours.
Saturdays demonstrations across Hong Kong were mostly aimed at voicing anger over the polices use of force, which has escalated as tension reached boiling point during the past three months.
Many protesters have insisted the Hong Kong government meet their political demands, including setting up an independent body to investigate the polices alleged excessive use of force since the protests started in June.
Earlier in the week, Hong Kongs leader, Carrie Lam, withdrew a controversial extradition bill, which originally ignited the protests. But protesters remain angry about alleged police brutality and have vowed to continue demonstrations.