Clashes broke out between protesters and police in Hong Kong on Sunday, cutting short a rally after thousands had gathered at a park to call for electoral reforms and a boycott of the Chinese Communist Party.
Sporting their movement's trademark black clothing and face masks, rally participants had earlier packed into Chater Garden, located near the city's Legislative Council building.
The Hong Kong Government also condemned the attacks, calling them "outrageous", and accused "rioters" of exploiting peaceful public assemblies "as a cover for vandalism and attacks".
According to global media reports, the arrests made on January 1 were one of the largest arrests in a single day since the unrest rocked the former British colony in June 2019 making the total count of detainees to at least 7,000.
Friction between democracy-conscious Hong Kong residents and the Communist Party-led central government in Beijing came to a head last June, when the Extradition Bill sparked months of often violent mass protests.
The protests, which have since broadened to include demands for universal suffrage and an independent investigation into police handling of the demonstrations had lost some of their intensity in recent weeks.
Speaking to media on Sunday night, Senior Superintendent Ng Lok-chun of the Hong Kong Island Region, said Lau was arrested for inciting the public and for breaching the terms of the letter of no objection issued for the rally because he failed to assist in maintaining order.
Lau said the rally descended into chaos because the police had rejected the application for a march, forcing the crowds to gather in a small place.
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Trouble flared when police ordered the authorised gathering to disperse after officers conducting stop and searches on nearby streets had water bottles and paint thrown at them by angry crowds.
"The HKSAR government reiterates that foreign countries should not interfere in any form in the internal affairs of the HKSAR", it added.
They believe Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam ignored their requests and used the police to suppress them.
In one corner, a group of volunteers set up a stand where people could leave messages on red cards for the lunar new year to be sent to those who have been arrested. Critics accuse them of using excessive force, with no officer disciplined or punished in the last seven months.
Some barricaded the roads with umbrellas and street furniture, dug up bricks from the pavement and smashed traffic lights. "This rally was supposed to be a march and the police only gave approval to the rally".
In response to the rally, Hong Kong's government released a statement outlining the "universal suffrage of "one person, one vote" as an ultimate aim" enshrined in the territory's Basic Law.
Riot police on Sunday fired tear gas at protesters and arrested several people near the park, known as Chater Garden after some demonstrators attacked plain-clothes officers.