Only 17 percent of Hong Kong residents are in favor of seeking independence from China and nearly half blame the city government for civil unrest, rather than the government in Beijing, a new poll shows.
On Saturday, riot police arrested about a dozen protesters and used pepper spray to break up a gathering aimed at disrupting retail business near the border with mainland China.
Protesters said authorities are threatening the freedom and autonomy of Hong Kong. "Nine! Liberate Hong Kong, revolution now!" as they lit up their phones in a sea of lights.
Thousands of people in India also planned to greet the new year with protests, angered by a citizenship law they say will discriminate against Muslims and chip away at the country's secular constitution.
"The movement is kind of like at its bottleneck now".
In late November, the city's pro-democracy camp scored a landslide victory in a municipal-level vote seen as a referendum on the Beijing-backed government's handling of political unrest.
Thousands of people gathered in Hong Kong on Sunday for a rally that sought to take stock of the months-long protest movement and send a signal that the campaign for greater democracy will be kept going next year.
Hong Kong's annual New Year's Eve fireworks were canceled for the first time in a decade because of "security threats", the South China Morning Post reported, citing officials.
Wong, a 22-year-old freelance photographer who gave only his last name, said he did not feel like celebrating New Year.
Responding to the poll, a government spokesperson said Lam would "continue to engage the people through dialogue".
More protests are planned in the next few days, including a countdown to New Year's Day and a march on January 1 organized by the civil human rights front that could attract thousands.
Sheung Shui was the place of clashes between police and protesters in June. "In 2020, I really hope it will be a better year for all Hong Kong people".
In a New Year's address on Tuesday evening (Dec 31), Xi said a peaceful, harmonious environment was key to the Asian financial hub's prosperity.
"More realistic people know there's no way for us to win but now is not the time for us to be pessimistic", he stated, including that he would proceed to push for full democracy for Hong Kong.
The demonstrations were initially sparked by a now-abandoned bill to allow extraditions to the authoritarian mainland, but have since morphed into a popular revolt against Beijing's control - the biggest crisis since the former British colony's return to Chinese rule in 1997.