Hong Kong police have used pepper spray and batons to stop protesters storming parliament amid growing anger over a controversial extradition bill.

Protesters have blocked key roads around government buildings and threw bricks and projectiles at police.

According to BBC, the government is still pushing for the bill which would allow extradition to mainland China and it is expected to pass its final vote on 20 June.

But the Legislative Council (LegCo) has now delayed its second reading.

The pro-Beijing LegCo said Wednesday’s scheduled meeting would instead be held at an unspecified “later time”

What’s happening today?

Thousands of protesters – mostly young people and students – took to the streets and attempted to block access to government buildings ahead of the scheduled debate of the bill.

Protesters outside the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong on WednesdayREUTERS; Protesters outside the Legislative Council building early on Wednesday

“This behaviour has gone beyond the scope of peaceful gatherings,” the Hong Kong Police Force said in a tweet on Wednesday.

“We call on [protesters] to leave as soon as possible… otherwise we will use appropriate force.

Matthew Cheung, Hong Kong’s administration chief, has urged protesters to stop occupying major roads and disperse as soon as possible, the Sing Tao Daily reports.

But one young protester, decked in a black mask and gloves, told news site AFP that they would not “leave [until] they scrap the law”.

Political party the Hong Kong National Front has threatened to enter the Legislative Council and remain “indefinitely” on strike if the government does not withdraw the bill.

Protesters in Hong Kong, 12 JuneREUTERS; Many were wearing face masks in preparation for clearing operations by police
Police officers spray a lone protester near the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019GETTY IMAGES; Police officers spray a lone protester near the government headquarters

Critics of the bill of amendments to the extradition laws cite the alleged use of torture, arbitrary detentions and forced confessions in the Chinese judicial system.

The government has promised legally binding human rights safeguards and other measures it says should alleviate concerns.

Nevertheless, this has led to the largest rallies the territory has seen since it was handed back to China by the British in 1997.

Police said they are also investigating death threats made against Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, and members of the justice department over the bill.

: