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Police, protesters clash on handover anniversary in Hong Kong

protest in Hong Kong

protest in Hong Kong

REUTERS; Protesters began gathering in the early hours of Monday. 

Police in Hong Kong have clashed with protesters marking the anniversary of its handover from UK to Chinese rule.

In chaotic scenes on Monday, police used pepper spray and batons to contain protesters outside a venue hosting an annual flag-raising ceremony.

A small group of protesters also smashed into the government building.

This is the latest in a series of protests against a controversial bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China.

The government has agreed to suspend it indefinitely, but the rallies continue and Chief Executive Carrie Lam is facing ongoing calls to resign.

Pro-democracy events are held every year to mark the handover. Large crowds are expected to attend a march and rally later on Monday, but police are now urging the organisers to shorten or cancel the event over safety concerns.

What has been happening so far on Monday?

The flag-raising ceremony to mark the handover took place inside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, amid heavy police presence.

Authorities said demonstrators began blocking several roads near the venue early on Monday morning, using items like metal and plastic barriers to block the way.

REUTERS; Police used pepper spray and batons against protesters

Outside the Convention and Exhibition Centre, police officers equipped with shields and batons clashed with hundreds of protesters around 30 minutes before the ceremony.

Police also used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.

News agency AFP said at least one woman was seen bleeding from a head wound after the clashes.

AFP; Some protesters used a trolley to smash the doors of the government offices

A police statement condemned “illegal acts” by protesters, who it said had taken iron poles and guard rails from nearby building sites.

The force later said 13 police officers had been taken to hospital after protesters threw an “unknown liquid” at them on Monday morning. Some were said to have suffered breathing difficulties as a result.

Around lunchtime local time, a breakaway group of protesters moved to the Legislative Council building (LegCo), where the government meets.

A small group of protesters continually rammed a metal trolley against the glass doors of the building as some on the sidelines yelled words of encouragement.

The group later succeeded in smashing in the door, but have not yet made their way into the building.

Riot police could be seen just inside the building.

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