Clashes broke out between Hong Kong Police and anti-government demonstrators on Monday morning ahead of what is expected to be a massive pro-democracy rally on the 22nd anniversary of city’s handover from British rule to China.
At about 7:20 am (local time), police charged towards protesters who had camped out on the street since 4 am. A statement released by police claims that the protestors had gathered iron poles, bricks from a nearby construction site, and guard rails to barricade a road and obstruct traffic, news reported.
“Police strongly condemn these illegal acts and warn protesters not to throw bricks or charge police cordon lines. Police appeal to protesters not to resort to violence, stop blocking roads and leave the scene as soon as possible,” according to a police statement.
Hong Kong has been shaken by huge demonstrations in the past three weeks against a controversial extradition bill which many fear could be used to deport political activists and dissidents to mainland China.
The said bill was proposed on April 3, and its opposers argue that its controversial amendments will leave anyone on Hong Kong soil vulnerable to being grabbed by the Chinese authorities for political reasons or inadvertent business offences.
They further reason that the newly framed extradition plan would dissolve the rights and legal protections, which were guaranteed under the city’s handover from British colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
July 1 marks the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from Britain to China. Although the day is usually marked with protests in the city, this year might witness a massive surge in the number of demonstrators owing to the controversy over the extradition bill.