Christmas Eve anti-government rallies in Hong Kong resulted in violent clashes between protesters and police officers with the latter using tear gas to restore the order and disperse demonstrators, the Voice of America reported.

According to the Voice of America broadcast, on Tuesday evening, people gathered in several shopping centres and busy tourist areas to voice their discontent with the authorities and to demand greater democracy.

The police, in return, after warning protesters that they were taking part in an illegal gathering, fired several rounds of tear gas at the demonstrators to disperse them as they disrupted traffic by setting barricades, blocking entrances to metro stations and setting fire at various locations across the city.

Hong Kong 's massive protests began in early June over a controversial extradition bill, which was officially withdrawn in October. Despite the government's concession, people have remained in the streets demanding that the police be held accountable for their excessive use of force during the protests.

Beijing views the situation in Hong Kong as a result of foreign interference in China's domestic affairs and expresses full support for the local authorities' actions.