HONG KONG: At least 49 people have been arrested after Sunday's violence in Hong Kong.
In a statement on Monday (Jul 29), police said the suspects were arrested for offences such as unauthorised assembly and possession of offensive weapons.
"The radical protesters’ acts were getting increasingly violent," said the Hong Kong Police Force.
"They escalated from removing railings, hurling metal poles and bricks to extensive arson and destruction. Police severely condemn such behaviours which have obviously deviated from the principle of expressing opinions in a peaceful manner."
Medical authorities said 16 people were injured.
Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters had defied authorities to hold unsanctioned marches through Hong Kong on Sunday, a day after riot police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse another illegal gathering.
Officials had initially only given permission for a rally in a park in the commercial district known as Central, but the crowds quickly spilled into the surrounding streets.
Some headed east to Causeway Bay, a popular shopping district, where they then erected barricades and took over a main thoroughfare.
Another group headed west towards Beijing's liason office, which was guarded by lines of riot police. Tensions rose as the standoff ensued, forcing police to fire tear gas and rubber bullets for a second night.
According to the police, "radical" protesters set fires at various locations, pushed a burning trolley towards officers, and attacked them with bricks, glass bottles, paint bombs and corrosive liquids.
Protesters also shot metal marbles at police with a crossbow, said authorities.
"Large traffic signs removed from kerbs and hefty objects were hurled from height at Police officers near Rumsey Street in Sheung Wan, posing serious threats to their lives," said the force.
"Police also seized at scene bows and arrows which are lethal weapons."
In a rare press conference on the protests, China condemned the "horrendous incidents" in Hong Kong, and reiterated support for the city's leader and police.
"No civilised society or rule of law society will tolerate rampant violence," said Yang Guang, spokesman of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of China's State Council.
"We hope that the general public will clearly understand the seriousness of the current state of affairs and jointly denounce the bad actions and crimes committed by radicals, and prevent them from harming Hong Kong," he added.