PROTESTORS used a metal trolley to try to storm Hong Kong’s Legislative Council building as a fresh wave of demonstrations hit the city.
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators are expected to take to the streets to mark to mark the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to Chinese rule, as anger over an extradition bill continues.
The violence came as the city’s leader Carrie Lam attended the annual ceremony in which the Chinese and Hong Kong flags were raised together while two helicopters and a small flotilla passed by.
Police used riot shields and pepper spray to push back hundreds of helmeted protesters who tried to advance down closed streets toward the harbour front venue of the ceremony.
The government has suspended debate on the bill indefinitely, but protest leaders want the legislation formally withdrawn and Lam’s resignation.
They also are demanding an independent inquiry into police actions during a June 12 protest.
Police officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who blocked entry to the legislature on the day debate on the bill had been scheduled to resume.
Hong Kong has been a semi-autonomous region since 1997, when a 99-year lease held by Britain expired.
EXTRADITION BILL FURY
The city was returned to Chinese rule under a “one country, two systems” formula that allows freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, including freedom of protest and a much-cherished independent judiciary.
But it has been plunged into turmoil over a proposed law that would allow extradition to mainland China.
Authorities in the territory have sought to suppress opposition to the proposed law, which critics say would erode Hong Kong’s judicial independence.
The new bill would create a system for case-by-case fugitive transfers between Hong Kong and China.
The Hong Kong government says the bill is a necessary step in its fight against crime, and that China is an important strategic partner.
But opponents fear that it would not resist politically-motivated requests by China.
Fears were bolstered last month when a member of China’s politburo, the ruling body of the Communist Party, revealed that the country’s targets included foreigners who had committed crimes against Chinese national security outside China.
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