World

Hong Kong police arrest 12 pro-democracy protesters

  • Pro-democracy protesters hold yellow umbrellas and paper crosses during in the early hours of Christmas Day in the Causeway Bay shopping district in Hong Kong Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014 as they demand genuine universal suffrage.  (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

    Pro-democracy protesters hold yellow umbrellas and paper crosses during in the early hours of Christmas Day in the Causeway Bay shopping district in Hong Kong Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014 as they demand genuine universal suffrage. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)  (The Associated Press)

  • An anti-Beijing protester holds a placard with picture of jailed Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo during a rally outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014. They demanded to release Chinese human rights activists. The placard reads "Release Liu Xiaobo." (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

    An anti-Beijing protester holds a placard with picture of jailed Chinese human rights activist Liu Xiaobo during a rally outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014. They demanded to release Chinese human rights activists. The placard reads "Release Liu Xiaobo." (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)  (The Associated Press)

  • Anti-Beijing protesters dressed in Santa Claus costumes, hold balloons and placards with portrait of Liu Xia, top left, and right, the detained wife of Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo and jailed journalist Gao Yu, bottom left, during a rally outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014 as they demand to release Chinese human rights activists. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

    Anti-Beijing protesters dressed in Santa Claus costumes, hold balloons and placards with portrait of Liu Xia, top left, and right, the detained wife of Chinese Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo and jailed journalist Gao Yu, bottom left, during a rally outside the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong Thursday, Dec. 25, 2014 as they demand to release Chinese human rights activists. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)  (The Associated Press)

Hong Kong police arrested 12 protesters blocking several roads in the Mong Kok neighborhood overnight Wednesday as pro-democracy demonstrators returned to the site hundreds had occupied for more than two months, police said.

A police statement Thursday said that police used pepper spray and batons to break up the protest and arrested demonstrators on charges ranging from assaulting a police officer to failing to produce proof of identity. The statement said two police officers were injured in the operation.

"Police had made repeated public announcements and displayed warning banners at the scene to urge them to leave the scene but they refused to comply," it said.

Over the last several months, thousands of protesters occupied three busy neighborhoods, including Mong Kok, to demand that residents of the semi-autonomous city be allowed to elect their top executive in 2017 from an open list of candidates. Chinese officials are requiring that a committee believed friendly to Beijing select the candidates.

Police cleared out the last the of the protest sites on Dec. 15.