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Protesters and police clash in Hong Kong amid Chinese New Year celebrations

A demonstration having to do with a street market in a working-class district of Hong Kong has turned violent. The clashes are the worst of their kind since pro-democracy protests swept the city last year.

The Lunar New Year's celebration turned violent in Asia's financial capital early on Tuesday when protesters and police clashed in a busy district of Kowloon.

An estimated 100 people, angry with authorities over a crackdown on illegal street vendors hawking items in the working-class area, reportedly threw projectiles at police and set fire to garbage cans and flower pots.

In response, authorities used batons and pepper spray to quell the protests, and at one point fired shots into the air.

Most of the protesters had dispersed by midnight. At least 24 people were arrested and around 48 people were injured.

A 'fishball revolution'

As news of the clashes brokes out, citizens of Hong Kong took to social media to voice their support for what they deemed a "fishball revolution," referring to the local delicacy commonly sold by the street vendors at the center of the protests.

One journalist on Twitter compared Tuesday's protests to the pro-democracy "Umbrella Revolution" that occurred in Hong Kong in 2014.

Others used the social media website to share some of the disturbing images from the demonstrations.

'Resolute actions'

Hong Kong authorities justified their use of force in the wake of the clashes.

"To ensure public safety and public order, police took resolute actions, including using baton and pepper spray, to stop the unlawful acts," the police said in a statement, according to Reuters news agency.

The metro station in the neighborhood, which is called Mong Kok, was also closed in response to the chaos.

The cashes were the worst since the ones that occurred between police and protestors during the pro-democracy demonstrations last year. Those protests lasted around two months.

Watch video 01:15

Violent clashes between Hong Kong police and protesters

blc/bw (AP, Reuters)

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