Police officers try to stop an anti-Beijing protester throwing a balloon with picture of jailed Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo during a rally outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014.
Hong Kong police have arrested 12 protesters as pro-democracy demonstrators returned to the Mong Kok neighborhood that hundreds had occupied for more than two months.
Police said Thursday they used pepper spray and batons in overnight clashes and arrested demonstrators on charges ranging from assaulting a police officer to failing to produce proof of identity.
It was the first sizeable rally since the last protest camp was cleared out on December 15.
At its peak, the so-called Occupy protest movement attracted tens of thousands of demonstrators, presenting an unprecedented challenge to Beijing＇s rule of Hong Kong.
The protesters want Beijing to allow fully democratic elections for Hong Kong＇s top leader in 2017. China has said all candidates must pass through a screening process.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997. As a semiautonomous Chinese territory, its citizens still enjoy many freedoms not allowed on the mainland.
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