HONG KONG - More than 30 people were arrested as a group of about 400 demonstrators in Hong Kong clashed with police in the latest sign of tensions caused by China's influence in the city.
Protesters in Yuen Long, in Hong Kong's New Territories just a stone's throw from mainland China, chanted to "cancel the multiple-entry permit" and "topple the Chinese Communist Party" as they complained about so-called parallel traders, who buy goods in Hong Kong to sell at a profit across the border.
Demonstrators blocked the area's main street with garbage bins, halting traffic. Police used pepper spray and restrained some people. A female protester was bleeding from the nose as police dragged her away.
Early on Monday, a police spokeswoman said a total of 36 people aged 13 to 74 had been arrested for offences including possessing offensive weapons, assault, disorder, and fighting.
The demonstration mirrored others in recent weeks targeting mainland Chinese visitors that have tapped a seam of resentment against China, resulting in calls for greater Hong Kong nationalism and even independence from China, nearly three months after police cleared away the last of pro-democracy street protests in the city.
"We can't walk, because all their goods pile up like mountains on the streets," said King Lee, a 23-year-old Yuen Long resident who was protesting against the parallel traders. "We should not endure this silently."
The Sunday protests also fanned discontent from other residents unhappy with the disruption to their daily routine.
"Why are there so many mainlanders shopping in Hong Kong? It's because our products are good," said Tom Lau, a 50-year-old resident who works in a kitchen. Lau jeered at protesters.
"Why oppose them (the shoppers)? They are just protesting for the sake of protesting. They are just stirring up trouble. They march with the colonial flag, but we are Chinese people."