HONG KONG (AP) – New Year’s Eve party and democracy protesters flocked to Hong Kong on Tuesday to see 2019.
This year, the semi-autonomous Chinese city softened the usually noisy celebrations amid ongoing demonstrations that began in June as opposed to proposed extradition legislation.
The fireworks, which traditionally illuminate Victoria’s famous harbor, were canceled due to security concerns, while some roads were closed and barriers to crowd control were set up in the nightlife area of Lan Kwai Fong.
Demonstrators converged in shopping areas both on Halloween and Christmas Eve, and there were calls on the Internet that human chains and other protests formed in shopping centers.
The demonstrations, which repeatedly caused fierce fighting with the police, negatively impacted the nightlife of Hong Kong and the tourism industry. Government data showed that the number of tourists arriving in November fell by 56 percent compared to the same month last year.
New Year holidays in Hong Kong largely reflect the international character and heritage of the city as a former British colony. Holidays are more muted in mainland China, where Lunar New Year is the most important annual holiday.