HONG KONG: Police have clashed with protesters and used pepper spray to disperse them on the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong shift from British to Chinese rule.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam attended the annual flag-raising ceremony on Monday. In recent days, millions have protested against an extradition bill allowing people to be sent to China from the city for trails.
Following the mass protest, the government has suspended the bill indefinitely, but the rallies continue.
The protestors are calling for Ms Lam resignation. Their demands include a complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, revoking the term “riot” to describe protests on 12 June, releasing all detained activists, and investigations into police violence.
Speaking on Monday, Ms Lam said events in June had made her realise she needed to invest more time listening to people.
“I will learn the lesson and ensure that the government’s future work will be closer and more responsive to the aspirations, sentiments and opinions of the community,” she said.
As she attended the official ceremony to mark the handover, protesters held a parallel event nearby, raising a black flag to show their fears for freedom in the territory.
Authorities said demonstrators had blocked several roads in the city from 0400 local time.
A police statement condemned “illegal acts” by protesters who it said had taken iron poles and guard rails from nearby construction sites. It warned demonstrators not to throw bricks or charge police cordon lines.