Hong Kong protests: Teargas used and three men arrested as clashes continue between police and protesters

The protests come as pro-democracy leaders demand talks with Chinese leaders in Beijing

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Three men were arrested on Thursday after fresh pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong led to violent clashes between protesters and police.

The police were seen using pepper spray, shields and batons to disperse the hundreds of protesters that had gathered in Hong Kong’s Mong Kok district in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Hong Kong police reported that three men between the ages of 24 and 50 had been detained, one one for criminal damage, while the other two were arrested for obstructing police officers.

According to reports, the clashes began at around 2am and were triggered off by one man using his camera flash to provoke a police officer.

Also present on Thursday were over 50 protesters seen wearing Guy Fawkes masks made popular by global ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous.

The latest clashes mark the sixth week of protests that have seen pro-democracy groups occupy Hong Kong’s main business districts as well as other areas of the city, in reaction to Beijing’s decision to screen candidates for the city’s next elections in 2017.

Since Britain released Hong Kong to China in 1997, Hong Kong has been run under a “one country, two systems” which allows for Hong Kong to have more control over their internal affairs than other areas of China. 

In pictures: Hong Kong democracy protest 2014

However, as the current democratic process stands, those in Beijing can screen would be candidates before they are put forward for election as Hong Kong’s next chief executive

This has angered a number of groups in Hong Kong, including many student groups who are demanding fully-democratic elections when they decide on their city’s next chief executive in 2017.

The latest protests come after leaders of the protests outlined their ambition to have direct talks with those in Beijing.

On Wednesday one of the Hong Kong Federation of Students', Alex Chow, called for a meeting with Chinese leaders in Beijing to be arranged.

He told Reuters, “A visit to Beijing is needed.“

He believed that “to make the conversation become a reality” a “middleman” such as former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa or Rita Fan, who was former president of the city's legislative assembly, was needed so that talks could be arranged.

More protests are planned for Sunday, with groups arranging to walk on the Chinese government’s Liaison Office on Hong Kong Island to encourage dialogue between pro-democracy protesters and the Chinese government.

Additional Reporting Reuters