Protesters' violent clash with Hong Kong police on handover anniversary

Tens of thousands of demonstrators gather outside of the Hong Kong government headquarters complex to show their support for the police

Organisers have said 550,000 attended the annual July 1 democracy march, as protesters storm Hong Kong's legislature after breaking into its rear entrance.

Hong Kong residents' fear of an erosion of their autonomy have manifested in protests over the years, notably the Umbrella Movement campaign which saw major streets in the city's central business district taken over by demonstrators for almost three months in 2014.

In a counter-protest on Sunday, tens of thousands of people rallied in support of the police, who have come under criticism for using tear gas and rubber bullets during a crackdown on a protest that left dozens injured on June 12.

The spark for the current wave of protests was an attempt by chief executive Carrie Lam to pass the Beijing-backed extradition law, which she has now postponed following the public backlash.

Xi also used the visit to swear in Hong Kong's new leader, Carrie Lam. Lam, who had been elected under the rules that led to the protests in 2014, had the backing of much of the city's pro-Beijing business and political elite.

"Knowing when and where to stop is a skill and quality that Hong Kong's activists must master, if they want to advance their cause", he said.

The mostly young protesters had planned to march to the ceremony and disrupt the proceedings, which were held to mark the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong's handover from the British to the Chinese. During her speech, she said that she had learned her lesson from the disputes between the Hongkongers and the government, according to Hong Kong media.

Protesters break into the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019, on the 22nd anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China. The Bauhinia, or Hong Kong Orchid Tree, became the emblem of Hong Kong when it was still a British colony.

Police fired pepper spray and used batons against protesters as preparations were ongoing for the flag-raising ceremony.

The incident came as thousands of Hong Kong residents blocked off roads outside the government complex. Protesters, who have staged a series of demonstrations since mid-June, are demanding that she resign over the extradition bill.

"To successfully implement "one country, two systems" and capitalize on Hong Kong's various advantages to develop our economy and improve people's livelihood, we have to make plans together and work in concert", she said.

The Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (HKPORI) gave different estimates.

"Recently Britain has continuously gesticulated about Hong Kong, flagrantly interfering".

Protesters had carried road signs, others corrugated iron sheets and pieces of scaffolding, as they barged into the council building.

Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), an umbrella body of Hong Kong's pro-democracy groups, has announced that the July 1 march will begin from Victoria Park, with locals asked to gather from 2:30 p.m. local time.

The storming of the Legislative Council presents the strongest challenge to Chinese control of Hong Kong, and many have argued that it is a culmination of more than a decade of popular frustration over repeated encroachments by Beijing on Hong Kong's special status.

But the party-owned China Daily also ran a rare editorial stating that Hong Kong was an "inalienable part" of China and that the only way it could remain stable and enjoy economic growth was to fully integrate itself with China's development.



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