People in Hong Kong staged protests Sunday on what would have been an election day for the territory's legislature before it was delayed by a year, with police arresting at least 289 of them for unlawful assembly or on other grounds.
Police said one woman was also arrested on suspicion of violating the contentious national security law by chanting a slogan advocating Hong Kong independence.
The protests were held in the Kowloon district, including on the streets near Jordan, where hundreds of people briefly marched holding up their hands and chanting pro-democracy slogans, before they were broken up by police officers.
Police used pepper spray and fired rounds of pepper balls as they chased the crowds rallying in nearby Mong Kok, where streets were lined with stalls and shoppers. Some protesters were seen being lined up on streets behind the police cordon and taken away with their wrists tied behind their backs.
As many as 2,000 officers were reportedly deployed for the protests.
Among the other offenses alleged against the people arrested Sunday were assaulting police officers, causing a public nuisance and possessing drugs. Those arrested included activists who had led the unauthorized protests.
The Legislative Council election was originally set for Sunday but was postponed for a year by the Hong Kong government, which cited public health concerns during the coronavirus pandemic.
The delay, however, prompted an outcry from candidates in the pro-democracy camp who had set their sights on winning the majority of seats in the 70-strong assembly for the first time on the back of a wave of anti-government sentiment among the territory's residents.
The anti-government demonstrations that convulsed Hong Kong most of last year have died down as the pandemic brought a halt to most social activities in the territory in late January. But there have been renewed calls for more protests since China imposed the sweeping national security law at the end of June.
The law targets acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with a maximum sentence of life in prison. At least 20 people have been arrested allegedly in breach of the law.