Hong Kong protests: Demonstrators storm legislative building on handover anniversary
Protester inside the legislative building (Image: Honk Kong Free Press)

The protests over controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong escalated on Monday, as protesters attempted to smash their way into the Legislative Council Building.

Chairs were thrown and portraits of lawmakers were torn down with protesters raising the former colonial flag, which includes the British union jack, local media reported.

WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?

Marking the 22nd handover anniversary from UK to China on July 1, scores of pro-democracy demonstrators marched in the city peacefully that soon witnessed dozens of them braking through the glass of the building.

According to reports, few protesters spray-painted messages on the walls and occupied the central legislative chamber. The protesters repeatedly rammed a cargo cart and large poles into the glass panel.

After the cart got wedged into the damaged window pane, police inside grabbed it and repelled the protesters with pepper spray. Officers lined up with riot shields on the other side of the broken window to prevent anyone from entering, reports suggest.

The annual protest of Monday, latest in the series of protests, was speculated to be much larger. This protest was in part with the initial protest held on June 12 against the extradition bill.

WHAT IS THE EXTRADITION BILL?

The bill, if passed will allow suspects accused of criminal wrongdoings, such as murder and rape on trial in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam is standing firm in her support for the proposed bill. Now, amid more turmoil, Lam admits that the new bill is controversial, but said safeguards have been added to the bill to protect human rights. These comments have done nothing to quell opposition, CNN reported.

According to critics of the bill, they fear it could be used to target opponents of the government in Beijing, and to bring Hong Kong further under China’s control.

Remember, Britain that earlier ruled Hong Kong, handed over it to China on July 1, 1999 under the negotiated “One Country, Two Systems”.

But over the past decade and especially since the Umbrella Movement five years ago, where thousands occupied the streets of central Hong Kong for 79 days in peaceful protest for democracy, Hong Kong’s freedoms have been steadily chipped away.

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