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Pro-democracy protests return to Hong Kong, 37 people arrested

26 December 2014

As pro-democracy protests returned to the streets of Hong Kong, the police arrested 37 people overnight for a second night, the Associated Press reported.   

The people were demanding open nominations for the semi-autonomous city's chief executive, according to police.

According to a police statement, protesters blocked five roads overnight in the Mong Kok neighbourhood and broke police orders to clear out. The arrested protesters were from 13 to 76 years of age.

Earlier, twelve protesters had been arrested in the same neighbourhood overnight on Wednesday after they blocked roads.

As per the Facebook page of a pro-democracy activist group called Hong Kong Shield, protesters walked by the three protest sites over the two nights, singing political-themed songs and holding the umbrellas that had become a symbol of the city's democracy movement.

A number of people in the crowd wore red Santa Claus hats and chanted ''I want true democracy'' in Cantonese.

Well-known Hong Kong singer Denise-Ho is leader of the protest group. Ho was arrested this month during the police clearance of the main Admiralty protest site.

In a statement, the police said, it respected the public's freedoms of expression, speech and assembly but warned that protesters ''should refrain from conducting public meetings and processions by way of the so-called 'mobile occupation.''

Meanwhile, USA Today reported that though 2014 had seemed a bad year for protests, it was not so. Also, there were not a few reminders of the limits as also frequently, the failures - of earlier political mass movements.

In the USA, protests were held against grand juries' failure to indict white policemen in the deaths of unarmed black men, while in Hong Kong people marched to demand democratic elections. In Ukraine, people marched to oust an unpopular regime.

Mexico saw huge crowds that demanded investigation into the disappearance of 43 student activists, while in Hungary people marched to protest an internet tax. There were huge demonstrations in Venezuela, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Thailand and Burkina Faso too.

However, by historical standards, 2014's protests did not come as abnormally high.

In 1968, demonstrators battled police at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, students took over the streets of Paris and Czechs rallied in a failed attempt to preserve their "Prague Spring'' from a Soviet communist crackdown.

This year's protests could also not be compared with those in 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell spelling an end to Soviet communism.

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