Hong Kong police fired tear gas and pepper spray to disperse thousands of protesting on Sunday, against Beijing’s plan to impose national security laws.
China has launched new efforts to increase its control over Hong Kong after mass protests in 2019 hampered its efforts to roll back the city’s autonomy.
Critics fear the provisions of the law will lead to the end of Hong Kong’s independence.
Hong Kong was once again gripped by civil unrest as protesters took to the streets to oppose China’s moves to take control of the autonomous city.
Police on Sunday fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and pepper spray to disperse thousands of protesters who had gathered in the shopping district of Causeway Bay.
They chanted, “Revolution of our time. Liberate Hong Kong,” “Fight for freedom, Stand with Hong Kong,” and “Hong Kong independence, the only way out,” Reuters reported.
The protest was the first since Thursday when Beijing proposed national security laws in a new effort to increase its control over Hong Kong, moving to strike back after mass protests hampered its efforts to roll back the city’s autonomy, in 2019.
The Chinese government has proposed new national security legislation that critics say could erode the city’s freedoms and prevent further protests.
The move came at China’s landmark “Two Sessions” legislative event, where the Communist Party sets out its program for the year ahead.
Hong Kong is meant to introduce its own laws according to the agreement by which the former colony was returned to China in 1997 using the “one country, two systems” formula.
Hong Kong was consumed by huge protests last year against increased influence from mainland China. The movement saw millions take to Hong Kong’s streets to protest against the power of the People’s Republic. The demonstrations lasted months.
Hong Kong has increasingly become a pawn in deteriorating relations between Washington and Beijing, and observers will be watching for any signs of resignation to defeat among the broader local community or indications that activists are gearing up for a fresh challenge, according to Reuters.
EUS Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned the plans as a “death knell” for the city’s freedoms earlier this week. The UK, Australia and Canada have also expressed their “deep concern.”
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