Protesters try to smash way into Hong Kong Legislative Council

Protesters try to smash way into Hong Kong Legislative Council

Protesters smash into Legislative Council
Protesters try to break into the Legislative Council building where riot police are seen, during the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China in Hong Kong, China July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG: Anti-government protesters smashed windows of Hong Kong's Legislative Council on Monday (Jul 1) and tried to force their way into the building by ramming a metal trolley through the glass doors, as police responded with pepper spray. 

At 6.36pm on Monday, the Legislative Council Secretariat issued a red alert calling for "all people" to leave the complex immediately.

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.

READ: Hong Kong protesters take over roads on handover anniversary, police use pepper spray to disperse crowds

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.

Protesters wearing helmets and masks smashed windows at the city's legislature and tried to force their way into the building by ramming a metal trolley through reinforced glass doors.

Hong Kong protesters try to break into Legislative Council building on Jul 1, 2019
Hong Kong protesters try to break into Legislative Council building on Jul 1, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Tyrone Siu)

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

Some democratic lawmakers tried to intervene but had little luck persuading the protesters to withdraw.

Hong Kong riot police inside the Legislative Council on Jul 1, 2019
Hong Kong riot police inside the Legislative Council where protesters tried to break into on Jul 1, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter)

The fresh wave of protests on the anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule has plunged the city into further turmoil.

Earlier on Monday, thousands of demonstrators faced off with riot police who fired pepper spray to disperse some of them. 

Hong Kong protests on Jul 1, 2019
Protesters try to push a metal cart through a closed entrance at the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019. (Photo: VIVEK PRAKASH / AFP)

13 POLICE OFFICERS TAKEN TO HOSPITAL

Thirteen police officers were taken to hospital after protesters hurled objects containing an "unknown liquid" earlier on Monday morning, Hong Kong police said in a statement.

"During the road blockade and charging of police cordon lines by protestors at Lung Wo Road, Tim Mei Avenue and Harcourt Road, some protestors hurled objects containing unknown liquid at police officers at about 9.30am," said the statement.

"Police officers at scene were injured and among them, some experienced difficulty in breathing and had swollen and itchy skin."

They were subsequently taken to a hospital for treatment.

Protesters gather outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on Jul 1, 2019
Protesters gather outside the government headquarters as they try to push a metal cart through a closed entrance, in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019. (Photo: VIVEK PRAKASH / AFP)

The police condemned the "illegal acts", and said the organised crime and triad bureau is looking into the incident.

Members of the public are advised not to go to the Wan Chai and Admiralty areas due to the "chaotic situation", they added.

Timeline: Key dates for Hong Kong extradition Bill and protests

Police standing inside the Legislative Council on Jul 1, 2019
Hong Kong police standing inside the Legislative Council, which protesters broke into on July 1. (Photo: Anthony Wallace / AFP)

The anniversary of the handover of the former British colony to Beijing in 1997 has been marked in recent years by tensions about what many Hong Kong residents see as a relentless march towards mainland control.

Tensions spiralled on Jun 12 when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at anti-extradition protesters near the heart of the city, sending plumes of smoke billowing among some of the world's tallest skyscrapers.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam's suspension of the Bill, following the largest and most violent protests in decades, has done little to pacify opponents who are demanding it be scrapped altogether.

Source: AFP/Reuters/nc

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