Hong Kong, July 1: Hong Kong’s political turmoil continued on July 1 as protesters tried to force ways into the legislative council building, adding more to tensions with armed forces ahead of a scheduled mass protest on anniversary of the territory’s status change from British to China.
According to Al-Jazeera news reports, protesters, demonstrating against a controversial extradition bill which would permit suspects in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China for court prosecution, smashed windows and attempted to enter the building, prompting the armed forces to retaliate in response with tear gas and pepper spray.
Since early morning, protesters have summoned outside the city’s Central Government Offices (CGO) council, moving huge crowd prevention barriers to bar various streets leading to the complex.
“This is the culmination of a whole series of actions that the government has taken in recent years that increasingly restrict our political space, cut to the heart of ‘one country, two systems’ and restrict the sense of freedom and civil liberties we thought we could enjoy under the Basic Law,” former Chief Secretary Anson Chan told Al Jazeera.
Security forces have clashed with Hong Kong protesters on the 22nd anniversary of the territory’s status shift to Chinese rule from British.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam was addressing the annual flag-raising ceremony to celebrate the anniversary on Monday, while the armed forces used tear gas and pepper spray to restrain demonstrators.
In recent weeks, tens of thousands of people have staged mass protests in the territory against a controversial extradition bill which would permit suspects in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China for prosecution and court trials.
The protesters’ demands include a full withdrawal of the extradition bill, revoking “riot” term describing protest on June 12, freeing all arrested activists, and probe into the police action.