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Hong Kong protesters target Chinese state-owned news agency in latest round of marches

Earlier, police fired tear gas and a water cannon after some protesters hurled petrol bombs.

Updated Nov 2nd 2019, 11:17 AM

featureimage Firefighters outside the offices of China’s Xinhua News Agency in Hong Kong Source: Kin Cheung via PA Images

PROTESTERS HAVE VANDALISED the Hong Kong office of China’s official Xinhua News Agency for the first time during the months-long anti-government demonstrations.

Local media showed scenes of the aftermath that included a fire in the lobby of the Xinhua office in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district, with shattered windows and graffiti sprawled over the wall.

Protesters have been targeting Chinese banks and businesses perceived to be linked to mainland China as anger builds up against Beijing, which the protesters accuse of infringing on the freedoms guaranteed when Britain returned Hong Kong to China in 1997.

Earlier, police fired tear gas and a water cannon in the area after some protesters hurled petrol bombs at them in another weekend of chaos.

This comes after Beijing indicated it could tighten its grip on the Chinese territory.

featureimage Protesters in Hong Kong as they defy police in the latest round of marches Source: PA Images

Streets in the upmarket Causeway Bay shopping area were clouded with tear gas, prompting protesters to flee as riot police marched down the road. A water cannon truck was also deployed.

Police earlier issued warnings to protesters who occupied the area that they were attending an unauthorised rally and violating a government ban on face masks.

Tear gas was also fired to disperse a huge crowd in nearby Victoria Park after protesters unearthed a goal post from a football field and metal railings to block the park’s entrance.

Several protesters were detained.

Hardcore protesters in full gear quickly regrouped in the vicinity, using plastic cones and metal railings to set up road barriers to prepare for possible further clashes with police.

hong-kong-protests People wearing masks gathering on a street in Hong Kong on Thursday Source: AP/PA Images

The anti-government protests began in early June over a now-shelved plan to allow extraditions to mainland China but have since swelled into a movement seeking other demands, including direct elections for Hong Kong’s leaders.

A move last month by Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, to invoke emergency powers to impose a face mask ban was seen as a further infringement on freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” framework put in place when Britain returned the city to China in 1997.

More than 3,000 people have been detained in the protests. The civil disobedience has posed a big challenge to Beijing, which vowed  yesterday to prevent foreign powers from sowing acts of “separatism, subversion, infiltration and sabotage” in Hong Kong.

In a Communist Party document released after its Central Committee meeting this past week, Beijing said it would “establish and strengthen a legal system and enforcement mechanism” to safeguard national security in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong, which has a separate legal system from mainland China, has tried to enact anti-subversion legislation before, only to have the measure shelved amid formidable public opposition.

Beijing may be indicating it is preparing to take matters into its own hands by having the National People’s Congress issue a legal interpretation forcing the enactment of such legislation.

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