Tuesday, August 20, 2019 | ePaper
Hong Kong police use tear gas as protesters try to storm parliament
Police used tear gas, pepper spray and batons to break up crowds. Internet photo
Violent clashes broke out in Hong Kong on Wednesday as police tried to stop protesters storming the city's parliament, while tens of thousands of people blocked key arteries in a show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China.
Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and batons to disperse crowds of black-clad demonstrators-most of them young people and students-calling for authorities to scrap the Beijing-backed law.
Clashes broke out shortly after 3:00 pm (0700 GMT) -- the deadline protesters had given for the government to abandon the controversial bill-and continued throughout the afternoon in the worst political violence the city has seen in years.
Rows of riot police battled protesters-many wearing face masks, helmets or goggles and using umbrellas as shields-who had gathered in the centre of the city ahead of a scheduled debate in the city's legislature.
That debate had to be rescheduled "to a later date" after huge crowds seized major roads outside the parliament.
The scenes echoed the pro-democracy "Umbrella Movement" of 2014 where protesters calling for greater democratic rights shut down swathes of the city for two months and battled police but won no concessions from Beijing.