Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests
LATEST UPDATE: August 19, 2019 - 6:52am
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2 hours ago

US President Donald Trump on Sunday warned China that carrying out a Tiananmen Square-style crackdown on Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters would harm trade talks between the two countries.

"I think it'd be very hard to deal if they do violence, I mean, if it's another Tiananmen Square," Trump told reporters in New Jersey. "I think it's a very hard thing to do if there's violence."

Hong Kong has been roiled by protests for more than two months and on Sunday hundreds of thousands of democracy activists had marched peacefully in the city despite rising unrest and stark warnings from Beijing.

There have been increasingly stark warnings from Beijing over the protests, and state media has run images of military personnel and armoured personnel carriers across the border in Shenzhen. — Agence France-Presse

18 hours ago

Hong Kong democracy activists gather for a major rally to show the city's leaders their protest movement still attracts wide public support despite mounting violence and increasingly stark warnings from Beijing.

Ten weeks of demonstrations have plunged the financial hub into crisis with images of masked black-clad protesters engulfed by tear gas during street battles with riot police stunning a city once renowned for its stability. 

Communist-ruled mainland China has taken an increasingly hardline tone towards the protesters, decrying the "terrorist-like" actions of a violent hardcore minority among the demonstrators.

Despite the near-nightly clashes with police, the movement has won few concessions from Beijing or the city's unelected leadership. — AFP

1 day ago

Hong Kong democracy activists kick off a weekend of fresh protests in a major test for the movement following criticism over an airport protest earlier this week -- and as concerns mount over Beijing's next move.

Ten weeks of demonstrations have plunged the international finance hub into crisis, with the communist-ruled mainland taking an increasingly hardline tone, including labelling the more violent protester actions "terrorist-like".

Activists are billing two planned rallies on Saturday and Sunday as a way to show Beijing and the city's unelected leaders that their movement still enjoys broad public support, despite increasingly violent tactics deployed by a minority of hardcore protesters that have cast a shadow. — AFP

1 day ago

Hundreds of pro-China demonstrators march through Sydney Saturday in response to a growing number of rallies in support of the Hong Kong democracy protests as tensions between the two groups increasingly flare in Australia.

They march through the city chanting "One China", waving the Chinese flag and holding placards saying "Stop riots end violence in Hong Kong".

"There has been a lot of violence and violent protests in Hong Kong," Sydney-based lawyer and rally organiser who asked only to be called Zhao says. "And Hong Kong people have suffered from that and we want to voice our call for peace and order in Hong Kong." — AFP

2 days ago

Hong Kong's police are confident they have the resources to continue battling pro-democracy protesters, even if violence escalates further, pouring cold water on concerns that the authoritarian mainland might need to intervene.

Three senior commanders say they were unaware of any plans by China to bolster their own ranks with mainland troops or police officers, even if the political chaos worsens. 

And they admit that any move to do so would place the city's police force in uncharted waters. — AFP

2 days ago

Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement faces a major test this weekend as it tries to muster another huge crowd following criticism over a recent violent airport protest and as concerns mount over Beijing's next move.

Ten weeks of protests have plunged the international finance hub into crisis with the communist mainland taking an increasingly hardline tone, including labelling the more violent protester actions "terrorist-like".

Chinese state media have put out images of military personnel and armoured personnel carriers across the border in Shenzhen, while the United States has warned Beijing against sending in troops, a move many analysts say would be a reputational and economic disaster for China. — AFP

3 days ago

Donald Trump urges China to "humanely" resolve the violent stand-off with pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, as concerns grow that Beijing is considering direct intervention in the crisis.

In a series of tweets, the US president linked a possible trade deal with Beijing to a peaceful resolution to the political unrest that has roiled the semi-autonomous Chinese city for 10 weeks.

Washington has become increasingly alarmed by the build-up of Chinese security forces on the border with Hong Kong as the protests show no signs of abating and Beijing intensifies its drumbeat of intimidation against a movement pushing democratic reforms and a halt to sliding freedoms. — AFP

3 days ago

Donald Trump urges China to "humanely" resolve the violent stand-off with pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong, as concerns grow that Beijing is considering direct intervention in the crisis.

In a series of tweets, the US president linked a possible trade deal with Beijing to a peaceful resolution to the political unrest that has roiled the semi-autonomous Chinese city for 10 weeks.

Washington has become increasingly alarmed by the build-up of Chinese security forces on the border with Hong Kong as the protests show no signs of abating and Beijing intensifies its drumbeat of intimidation against a movement pushing democratic reforms and a halt to sliding freedoms. — AFP

August 14, 2019

Flights were departing Hong Kong airport largely on schedule on Wednesday morning, a day after pro-democracy protesters caused chaos with a disruptive sit-in that paralysed the busy transport hub.

Hundreds of flights were cancelled on Tuesday after demonstrators blockaded two terminals, the second consecutive day the airport has been targeted in the latest escalation of a 10-week political crisis that has gripped the international finance hub.

Protesters physically blocked travellers from accessing flights throughout the afternoon, before battling with riot police outside the terminal later that evening and turning on two people they accused of being spies or undercover police.

But by the early hours of Wednesday morning the vast majority of protesters had left the building and flights began taking off on a more regular basis. — Agence France-Presse

August 13, 2019

Flights resume Tuesday at Hong Kong airport a day after a massive pro-democracy rally there forced the shutdown of the busy international transport hub.

Early Tuesday, passengers with luggage were being checked in at the departures hall and information boards showed several flights were already boarding or about to depart.

The abrupt shutdown of one of the world's busiest hubs came after thousands of black-clad demonstrators flooded the airport for a peaceful rally.

It was a dramatic escalation of a 10-week crisis that has been the biggest challenge to Chinese rule of Hong Kong since the 1997 British handover.

The protests have infuriated Beijing, which described some of the violent demonstrations as "terrorism".

Washington overnight urged all sides to refrain from violence, as the crisis sparked by a bill to allow extradition to mainland China continues with no apparent end in sight. — Agence France-Presse

August 12, 2019

More than 5,000 protesters gathered at Hong Kong airport on Monday, police say, as authorities cancelled all the day's remaining flights in and out of the busy international transport hub.

"The information I got before we came in was that in the airport passenger terminal building there are over 5,000 protesters," says Kong Wing-cheung, senior superintendent of the police public relations branch, at a press conference.

Kong said airport authorities had allowed demonstrators to gather in the arrivals halls — although the protest was not granted a permit from police — but accused the activists of blocking departures.

"Some of the protesters had gone into the departures hall, causing some passengers to be unable to enter the restricted area to exercise their personal freedom, which is to board their flight," he says. — Agence France-Presse

August 12, 2019

China on Monday slams violent protesters in Hong Kong who had thrown petrol bombs at police officers and linked them to "terrorism", as Beijing ramps up its rhetoric against pro-democracy protests in the financial hub.

"Hong Kong's radical demonstrators have repeatedly used extremely dangerous tools to attack police officers, which already constitutes a serious violent crime, and also shows the first signs of terrorism emerging," said Yang Guang, spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council.

"This wantonly tramples on Hong Kong's rule of law and social order,” he says at a press briefing in Beijing. 

Meanwhile, Hong Kong airport authorities say Monday that they are cancelling departing and arriving flights at the major travel hub after thousands of protesters entered the arrivals halls to stage a demonstration.

"Other than the departure flights that have completed the check-in process and the arrival flights that are already heading to Hong Kong, all other flights have been cancelled for the rest of today," the airport authority says. — Agence France-Presse

August 12, 2019

While China might be exploiting fears of a bloody "Tiananmen" crackdown on Hong Kong's protest movement, analysts say the potentially catastrophic economic and political consequences will deter Beijing from any overt boots-on-the ground intervention.

As the clashes between pro-democracy demonstrators and police in the former British colony have grown increasingly violent, Beijing's condemnation has become more ominous, with warnings that those who play with fire will "perish by it".

At the same time, the military garrison maintained by People's Liberation Army in Hong Kong released a video showing an anti-riot drill in which soldiers with assault rifles, armoured personnel carriers and water cannons disperse a crowd of protesters. — Agence France-Presse

August 11, 2019

Cathay Pacific says it will comply with new rules from China banning staff who support Hong Kong's protesters from working on flights to the mainland or through its airspace.

The Hong Kong carrier also confirms it had suspended a pilot charged with rioting and fired two ground staff for misconduct apparently related to the protest movement that has engulfed the city.

China's aviation regulator had ordered the airline to hand over identifying information for staff on mainland-bound flights starting Sunday.

It warned that staff deemed to support Hong Kong's "illegal protests" were banned from flights landing in mainland China or traveling through its airspace.

August 10, 2019

Several hundred families take to the streets in Hong Kong to show support for pro-democracy protests that are now in their third month.

The colourful and calm atmosphere at the rally was a far cry from the increasingly violent confrontations that have marked recent demonstrations by activists calling for greater freedoms in the city.

A leaflet featuring an alternative alphabet was circulated, offering "demonstration" for the letter D, "angry" for A and "protest" for P. — AFP

August 10, 2019

The United States has demanded that Beijing-backed news outlets stop sharing "dangerous" reports after a newspaper revealed personal information about an American diplomat in Hong Kong who met with pro-democracy activists.

"Official Chinese media reports on our diplomat in Hong Kong have gone from irresponsible to dangerous. This must stop," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus has posted on Twitter.

The Hong Kong-based, pro-Beijing Ta Kung Pao reported that the political unit chief of the US Consulate General in Hong Kong, Julie Eadeh, had met with members of the political party Demosisto -- including prominent democracy activist Joshua Wong.

It shared details on Eadeh's career as well as her family members' names.

Beijing has increasingly pitched the anti-government protests in the semi-autonomous region of Hong Kong as funded by the West, but has provided little evidence beyond supportive statements from some Western politicians. — AFP

August 9, 2019

Hundreds of pro-democracy activists, some wearing face masks and helmets, stage a sit-in at Hong Kong's airport hoping to win support from international visitors for their movement.

"No rioters, only tyranny," the demonstrators chant as they began a three-day action -- the latest in a string of protests that have rocked the international financial hub for more than two months.

Activists, some dressed in the movement's signature black, sit on the floor in the airport's arrivals hall and hold up signs in Chinese and English condemning police violence. — AFP

August 8, 2019

China demands that US diplomats based in Hong Kong "stop interfering" in the city's affairs, after reports that they met with pro-democracy activists.

The foreign ministry says it had expressed "strong dissatisfaction" with US authorities, citing local media reports that a US official from Hong Kong's US consulate general had met with a local "independence group."

In a statement Thursday, the ministry urges the diplomatic office to "immediately make a clean break with various anti-China rioters" and "stop interfering in Hong Kong's affairs immediately." — AFP

August 7, 2019

Thousands of Chinese riot police staged a drill just across the border from Hong Kong, in what appeared to be a thinly veiled warning from Beijing about its ability to end two months of protests in the global financial hub.

The exercise, which took place Tuesday in Shenzhen — a city in southern China that borders the semi-autonomous city — instantly attracted online attention given the close resemblance between the drill and the ongoing clashes in adjacent Hong Kong.

The footage showed squads of police facing down "protesters" dressed in construction hats and facemasks — reminiscent of demonstrators in Hong Kong. As the crowd attacked police with long, wooden poles, officers pushed back with riot shields and deployed tear gas. — AFP

August 5, 2019

Peak-hour morning train travel and international flights in Hong Kong were thrown into chaos on Monday as pro-democracy protesters launched an attempted city-wide strike to ramp up pressure on the financial hub's embattled leaders. 

Activists descended on key subway stations during the morning rush hour, deliberately keeping open doors to stop trains departing, causing long queues and triggering occasional scuffles between angry commuters and protesters.

More than 100 flights at the city's airport -- one of the world's busiest -- were also listed as cancelled on Monday morning after aviation authorities warned passengers about potential disruptions. -- Agence France-Presse

August 4, 2019

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong are set to defy Chinese authorities with another two major rallies later, a day after police fired tear gas to disperse them in one of the city's most renowned tourist districts.

Tsim Sha Tsui, a harbourside district known for its luxury malls and hotels, was filled with acrid plumes of tear gas on Saturday night as small groups of hardcore protesters battled police in streets usually brimming with tourists and shoppers.

Semi-autonomous Hong Kong has seen two months of protests and clashes triggered by opposition to a planned extradition law that quickly evolved into a wider movement for democratic reforms.

August 3, 2019

Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong plan to hold a mass rally later Saturday as they face down increasingly stern warnings from China over weeks-long unrest that has plunged the city into crisis.

The semi-autonomous southern Chinese financial hub has seen two months of protests and clashes triggered by opposition to a planned extradition law that quickly evolved into a wider movement for democratic reforms.

Authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing this week signalled a hardening stance, including with the arrests of dozens of protesters, and the Chinese military saying it was ready to quell the "intolerable" unrest if requested. — AFP

August 2, 2019

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong gear up for more rallies in defiance of a series of warnings from China and after a prominent independence campaigner was arrested.

The semi-autonomous southern Chinese city has seen two months of unrest that was triggered by opposition to a planned extradition law but quickly evolved into a wider movement for democratic reforms.

Authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing this week signalled a hardening stance, including with the arrests of dozens of protesters, and the Chinese military described the unrest as "intolerable". — AFP

August 1, 2019

China's military has released a slick propaganda video showing a drill of armed troops quelling a protest in Hong Kong, as its commander for the city voiced determination to maintain law and order following two months of pro-democracy rallies.

The double-barrel signals on Wednesday were the strongest public interventions from China's armed forces into the crisis, which has seen masses of people take to the global financial hub's streets to demand more freedoms.

The video, posted online by the People's Liberation Army's (PLA's) garrison in Hong Kong, shows tanks, helicopters, rocket launchers and heavily armed troops in action across various locations of the semi-autonomous Chinese city. — AFP

July 31, 2019

Growing ranks of Hong Kong's typically conservative and publicity-shy bureaucrats have begun an unprecedented online dissent campaign against the city's pro-Beijing leaders over their response to weeks of violent pro-democracy protests.

Multiple open letters have been signed by hundreds of anonymous civil servants in the past week condemning the administration of city leader Carrie Lam and the police.

A group of civil servants have also announced plans to hold a rally on Friday night -- something unheard of from a demographic that usually eschews politics. — AFP

July 29, 2019

After weeks of increasingly violent protests, China's top policy body on Hong Kong affairs is set to hold an extremely rare press briefing Monday on the crisis engulfing the financial hub, where dozens of protesters were arrested in weekend clashes with police.

What began as a mass display of opposition to an extradition bill two months ago has morphed into a wider pro-democracy movement that has thrown down the most significant challenge to Beijing's authority since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

While China has issued increasingly shrill condemnations of the protests in the last two weeks, it has largely left the city's pro-Beijing administration to deal with the situation. 

So Monday’s highly unusual press briefing in Beijing by the cabinet-level Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office will be closely watched for any hint of more direct intervention. — Agence France-Presse

July 29, 2019

Riot police in Hong Kong launched volleys of tear gas and rubber bullets on Sunday during hours of running battles with pro-democracy protesters close to Beijing's office in the city, marking the second consecutive day officers have fired on demonstrators.

As the unauthorized protest occurred, the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office -- China's top policy unit for the two cities -- said in an unusual move that it would hold a press conference Monday afternoon in Beijing.

Hong Kong, a global financial hub, is reeling from weeks of anti-government protests that show no sign of abating.

Sunday's melees took place in a well-heeled residential district close to the Liaison Office, which represents Beijing in the semi-autonomous territory.

Police and protesters had been engaged in a standoff for hours after tens of thousands of demonstrators held a series of unsanctioned marches through the city. -- Agence France-Presse

July 28, 2019

Thousands of pro-democracy protesters defy a police ban and began marching through Hong Kong, a day after riot police fired rubber bullets and tear gas in the latest violent confrontation to plunge the financial hub deeper into crisis.

Huge crowds gather in the heart of the city's commercial district on Sunday afternoon, after police gave permission for a static protest in a park but banned a proposed march through the city.

Yet protesters soon spilled into the streets outside the park and began marching in spite of the ban, ratcheting up the likelihood of renewed clashes.

July 27, 2019

Hong Kong police fire tear gas at protesters holding a banned rally against suspected triad gangs who beat up pro-democracy demonstrators near the Chinese border last weekend, tipping the finance hub further into chaos.

Riot police fire dozens of rounds of tear gas in Yuen Long, a town close to the border, after tense standoffs with protesters, some of whom were throwing projectiles and had surrounded a police van.

Public anger has been raging since last Sunday when a gang of men in white T-shirts, armed with poles and batons, set upon anti-government protesters and bystanders in Yuen Long station. — AFP

July 27, 2019

Crowds of Hong Kong protesters defy a police ban and begin gathering in a town close to the Chinese border to rally against suspected triad gangs who beat up pro-democracy demonstrators there last weekend.

Public anger has been raging since last Sunday when a gang of men in white t-shirts, armed with poles and batons, set upon anti-government protesters and bystanders in Yuen Long station, leaving at least 45 people needing hospital treatment.

The brazen assault was the latest escalation in seven weeks of unprecedented political violence that shows little sign of abating as the city's pro-Beijing leaders refuse to budge. — AFP

July 26, 2019

Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters, including flight attendants, hold a rally in the airport's arrival hall in a bid to "educate" visitors about the unprecedented demonstrations currently roiling the international finance hub.

The cavernous hall is usually filled with excited friends and relatives waiting to greet loved ones as they make their way out of one of the world's busiest airports.

But on Friday visitors were greeted with protesters chanting anti-government slogans, holding banners and handing out flyers.

The rally is the latest bid to keep pressure on Hong Kong's pro-Beijing leaders after seven weeks of largely peaceful mass demonstrations followed by violent clashes, an unprecedented challenge to Beijing's authority since the city's 1997 handover. — AFP

July 21, 2019

Another huge anti-government march kicks off in Hong Kong with seemingly no end in sight to the turmoil engulfing the finance hub, sparked by years of rising anger over Beijing's rule.

The city has been plunged into its worst crisis in recent history by weeks of marches and sporadic violent confrontations between police and pockets of hardcore protesters.

The initial protests were lit by a now-suspended bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.

July 15, 2019

Anti-government protesters who fought police inside a Hong Kong shopping mall were "rioters," the finance hub's pro-Beijing leader says, as she threw her support behind the city's beleaguered police force following another weekend of clashes.

"They were committed to the duties, and also very professional and restrained. But they were wantonly attacked by rioters -- I think we can really describe them as rioters," City leader Carries Lam tells reporters.

Hong Kong's ongoing political crisis deepened further on Sunday as riot police and protesters fought running battles inside a shopping complex packed with luxury stores.

Police used pepper spray and batons against small groups of protesters, who responded by hurling umbrellas, bottles and other projectiles, in a night of fresh violence in the international hub.

Both officers and protesters were injured in the chaotic melee which left bloodstains on the floor and at least 28 people needing hospital treatment.

July 13, 2019

Clashes break out between police and Hong Kong demonstrators as the latest anti-government protests took aim at traders coming across the border from mainland China.

Police used pepper spray and batons against masked protesters in Sheung Shui, a town near the border with China, after thousands marched to complain about "parallel traders".

Sheung Shui boasts dozens of pharmacies and cosmetic stores that are hugely popular with mainland merchants who snap up goods in Hong Kong -- where there is no sales tax -- and resell them across the border. — AFP

July 9, 2019

A key Hong Kong protest group behind mass rallies against a widely loathed China extradition bill vowed on Tuesday to hold fresh protests as they rejected a promise from the city's leader that the bill was "dead".

"If our five demands are still not heard by Carrie Lam and her government, the Civil Human Rights Forum will continue to hold protests and assemblies," spokeswoman Bonnie Leung told reporters, adding details of the new protests would be released in due course. ?— Agence France-Presse

July 9, 2019

Hong Kong's pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam announced Tuesday that a widely loathed proposal to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland "is dead"—but she again stopped short of protester demands to immediately withdraw the bill.

"There are still lingering doubts about the government's sincerity or worries (about) whether the government will restart the process with the Legislative Council. So I reiterate here, there is no such plan. The bill is dead," she said. 

The announcement comes after tens of thousands rallied Sunday against the bill in the harbor-front district of Tsim Sha Tsui, an area popular with Chinese tourists, ending their march at a high-speed train terminus that connects to the mainland. 

Police wielding batons and shields charged protesters late Sunday to disperse a few hundreds demonstrators who had refused to leave after the march.

AFP reporters saw multiple demonstrators detained by police after the fracas, their wrists bound with plastic handcuffs.

By early Monday only pockets of demontrators remained with police occupying key intersections around the protest area.

The scene of the clashes—Mongkok—is a densely-packed working class district, which has previously hosted running battles between police and anti-government protesters in 2014 and 2016. — Agence France-Presse

 

 

July 7, 2019

Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong plan to rally later outside a controversial station where high-speed trains depart for the Chinese mainland as they try to keep up pressure on the city's pro-Beijing leaders.

The rally is the first major protest planned since last Monday's unprecedented storming of parliament by largely young, masked protesters -- a move which plunged the international financial hub further into crisis.

Hong Kong has been rocked by a month of huge peaceful protests as well as a series of separate violent confrontations with police, sparked by a law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.

The bill has since been postponed in response to the intense backlash but that has done little to quell public anger, which has evolved into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms and a halt to sliding freedoms in the semi-autonomous city. — AFP

July 2, 2019

Hong Kong Tuesday grappled with the aftermath of a night of unprecedented anti-government protests which saw parliament ransacked, as Beijing called for a criminal probe into the unparalleled challenge to its authority.

The semi-autonomous financial hub has been thrown into crisis by weeks of demonstrations over a bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland, with the issue becoming a lightning rod for resentment towards Beijing.

On Monday — the 22nd anniversary of the city's handover to China — anger spilt over as groups of mostly young, hardline protesters, breached the legislative council.

They hung the city's colonial-era flag in the debating chamber, scrawled messages such as "Hong Kong is not China" on walls, and defaced the city's seal with spray-paint.

Police charged into the building shortly after midnight to retake control. — Agence France-Presse

July 2, 2019

China's central government condemns the ransacking of Hong Kong's legislature and says it backs the city authorities to investigate the "criminal responsibility of violent offenders."

"These serious illegal actions trample on the rule of law in Hong Kong, undermine Hong Kong's social order and harm the fundamental interests of Hong Kong," the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council says in a statement by an unnamed spokesperson. — AFP

July 2, 2019

US President Donald Trump says protesters who stormed Hong Kong's parliament want democracy for the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

"Well, they're looking for democracy and I think most people want democracy. Unfortunately, some governments don't want democracy," Trump tells reporters at the White House.

"That's what it's all about. It's all about democracy. There's nothing better."

Earlier, Trump says the unrest in Hong Kong was "very sad."

July 1, 2019

Anti-government protesters stormed Hong Kong's parliament building late Monday after successfully smashing their way through reinforced glass windows and prising open metal shutters that were blocking their way.

Footage broadcast live on i-Cable News showed dozens of masked protesters, many carrying makeshift shields, swarming into the entrance of the building after hours of forcing their way in.

Riot police, who had earlier used pepper spray to try and beat the protesters back, appeared to have retreated deeper inside the complex. — Agence France-Presse

July 1, 2019

Anti-government protesters laid siege to Hong Kong's parliament on Monday as the territory marked its China handover anniversary, smashing windows, battling police armed with pepper spray and plunging the city further into crisis.

The angry scenes ramped up tensions in the financial hub which has been rocked by three weeks of historic demonstrations against a hugely unpopular bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

Tens of thousands of democracy activists staged another large, peaceful march through the city on Monday afternoon, calling for the city's pro-Beijing leader to step down and reverse what they see as years of sliding freedoms.

But that rally was overshadowed by small groups of mainly young, masked protesters who seized roads and tried to break into the legislature, sparking renewed clashes with police after two weeks of relative calm.

Under blazing summer skies the young demonstrators made multiple attempts to smash into the building, using a metal cart as a battering ram and wielding steel poles to prize open gaps in the reinforced windows. 

Riot police inside the building wore gas masks as they squirted pepper spray at protesters, who unfurled umbrellas to shield themselves. — Agence France-Presse

July 1, 2019

Anti-government protesters trying to ram their way into Hong Kong's parliament battled police armed with pepper spray Monday as the territory marked the anniversary of its handover to China.

The angry scenes ramped up tensions in the international financial hub, which has been shaken by historic demonstrations in the past three weeks -- driven by demands for the withdrawal of a bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

Democracy activists kicked off another large march through the city on Monday afternoon. 

But that rally was overshadowed by small groups of mainly young, masked protesters who had seized three key thoroughfares in the morning, sparking renewed clashes with police after two weeks of relative calm. 

They smashed windows at the city's legislature and tried to force their way into the building by ramming a metal cart through reinforced glass doors. 

Riot police inside the building wore gas masks as they squirted pepper spray at protesters, who unfurled umbrellas to shield themselves. — Agence France-Presse

July 1, 2019

Hong Kong police use pepper spray and batons early Monday against anti-government protesters who had taken over a key road as the city marks the anniversary of its handover to China.

Riot police swoop on protesters who had blockaded a street in the Wanchai district, an AFP reporter at the scene says, with at least one female protester seen bleeding from a head wound after the clashes. — AFP

July 1, 2019

Anti-government protesters in Hong Kong take over key roads early Monday morning of a mass planned pro-democracy rally on the anniversary of the city's handover to China.

AFP reporters on the scene saw at least three major thoroughfares seized by young, masked demonstrators who used metal and plastic barriers to blockade the streets. 

Rows of riot police with helmets and shields are facing protesters at Fenwick Pier Street but are not moving on protesters as dawn rose over the financial hub. — AFP

June 30, 2019

Once dubbed "Asia's Finest", Hong Kong's police are fighting allegations of using excessive violence against protesters, their headquarters besieged twice in the last week as calls for an independent inquiry into their tactics swell.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Wu Chi-wai was aghast as thick clouds of tear gas drifted through Hong Kong's streets and rubber bullets slammed into ranks of protesters.

The international finance hub witnessed the worst political violence in a generation as police fought largely young demonstrators opposed to a now postponed plan to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

The tear gas was initially deployed against small but hardcore groups of protesters — some throwing projectiles and using metal barriers as battering rams — who were trying to occupy the city's parliament on June 12.

But the police response morphed into a sweeping clearance operation as officers turned their weapons on larger, mostly peaceful crowds of demonstrators who had occupied nearby roads.

Wu found himself in between police and demonstrator lines as a tear gas canister exploded behind him.

In scenes caught on video that went viral, Wu calmly walked towards the police, his hands raised, asking to speak to the commanding officer. 

"I believe I posed no threat to the police and I wanted to be a mediator," he recalled to AFP. "I hoped the police would allow the protesters to leave safely and peacefully."

But his pleas fell on deaf ears. Police fired a round of tear gas close to his feet and he was forced to retreat. — Agence France-Presse

June 26, 2019

Hong Kong protesters march to major consulates as they called on G20 nations to confront fellow member China at an upcoming summit in Japan over sliding freedoms in the financial hub.

The semi-autonomous city has been shaken by huge demonstrations this month with protesters demanding the withdrawal of a bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.

The massive rallies are the latest manifestation of growing fears that China is stamping down on the city's unique freedoms and culture.

China has said it will not allow discussion of the protests in Hong Kong at the G20 summit in Osaka later this week -- although US President Donald Trump has said he plans to raise the issue during a planned meeting with President Xi Jinping. — AFP

June 21, 2019

Thousands of black-clad protesters block a highway outside Hong Kong's parliament, demanding the resignation of the city's pro-Beijing leader over a controversial extradition proposal that has sparked the territory's biggest political crisis in decades.

The protest comes after the government refused to meet the demands of demonstrators who have marched in their millions to oppose a bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland. — AFP

June 20, 2019

Hong Kong opposition groups call for another major demonstration on Thursday after the pro-Beijing government did not respond to demands of protesters who have shaken the city with massive rallies.

Millions have marched this month to oppose a proposed law that would have allowed extraditions to the Chinese mainland, but the huge protest movement has morphed into a larger rebuke of Hong Kong's administration.

Under-fire chief executive Carrie Lam has apologised and suspended the controversial bill, but that has failed to quell the opposition, with protesters demanding she step down and completely withdraw the legislation.

A number of protest groups, including student unions, called for supporters to mobilise on Friday, asking people to gather at the city's main government complex to "hold picnics" outside the legislature starting 7:00 am on Friday (2300 GMT Thursday).

They also recommended a go-slow protest on roads and public transport, and urged people to gather in other parts of the city to show their support.

"Blossom everywhere," read a statement circulated in a chat group on the messaging app Telegram by eight informal protest groups. —Agence France-Presse

June 20, 2019

Hong Kong student groups are preparing to mobilize support for another major demonstration, a union leader says, as a Thursday, June 20, deadline approached for the pro-Beijing government to respond to demands of protesters who have shaken the city with massive rallies.

Millions have marched this month to oppose a proposed law that would have allowed extraditions to the Chinese mainland, but the huge protest movement has morphed into a larger rebuke of Hong Kong's administration. — AFP

June 19, 2019

Members of Hong Kong's legislature meet Wednesday for the first time since the largest anti-government protest in the city's history, with many opposition lawmakers slamming the pro-Beijing administration's handling of the crisis.

Hong Kong has been shaken by a series of massive demonstrations against a proposed law that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, and the city's police force has been criticized for using excessive force to disperse protesters.

Videos of police beating unarmed protesters went viral and sparked public anger, and the tactics were widely condemned. Police said force was necessary to fend off protesters throwing bricks and metal bars. -- Agence France-Presse

June 17, 2019

Protesters end highway occupation outside Hong Kong's parliament.

June 17, 2019

Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong calls on the city's pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam to resign after he walked free from prison as historic anti-government protests rocked the city.

"She is no longer qualified to be Hong Kong's leader," Wong tells reporters.

"She must take the blame and resign, be held accountable and step down."

June 17, 2019

Joshua Wong, the student leader who became the face of Hong Kong's "Umbrella Movement" democracy protests in 2014, was released from prison on Monday, an AFP reporter at the scene says.

Wong, clutching a small box of belongings and dressed in a white shirt, walked free from Lai Chi Kok Correctional Institute and was swiftly mobbed by media and supporters. 

June 17, 2019

Organizers say "almost two million" people turned out for Sunday's mammoth protest in Hong Kong opposed to a deeply unpopular extradition law, an estimate that is nearly double last weekend's already record-breaking crowds. 

"Today's march we had almost 2 million people," Jimmy Sham, from the Civil Human Rights Front, tells reporters. 

Millions march in Hong Kong in a powerful rebuke of an extradition law feared to expose them to China's capricious justice system.

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