- Demonstrators commemorating July mob attack on protesters
- Clashes erupt after police block march in Yuen Long area
- Beijing supporters get involved in scuffle with protesters
- Police accuse protesters of vandalising banks in area
- No sign of end to months of pro-democracy unrest
HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong riot police fired tear gas late on Monday to disperse pro-democracy demonstrators gathered to commemorate the three-month anniversary of an assault by more than 100 men on protesters, commuters and journalists.
The clashes in the Yuen Long neighbourhood came a day after widespread violence in which tens of thousands marched through Kowloon district and hardcore activists threw petrol bombs at police, torched metro entrances and trashed shops.
Hong Kong has been battered by five months of huge and often violent protests over fears Beijing is tightening its grip on the territory, the worst political crisis since colonial ruler Britain handed it back to China in 1997.
Under a policy that deems marches illegal unless they have a police permit, riot police stopped around 100 protesters reaching the Yuen Long metro station in Hong Kong's northwest, which was closed five hours early amid tight security.
Police ordered protesters to disperse, at one stage rushing them and detaining one person. Scuffles broke out between pro-Beijing supporters and protesters and angry residents emerged from apartments to jeer officers, calling them "black police".
A police statement said police resorted to tear gas after some protesters hurled "hard objects" at them and vandalised bank facilities in the vicinity. It urged residents to stay indoors, keep windows closed and avoid local streets.
After a few hours most protesters had scattered but police remained on the streets in force, occasionally firing tear gas at small groups and chasing down individuals. A few masked protesters taunted police but quickly disappeared up side streets when officers approached.
Elsewhere in the city, protesters staged peaceful sit-ins at five metro stations.