Protesters in Hong Kong break into legislature, paint logos | TribLIVE.com
U.S./World

Protesters in Hong Kong break into legislature, paint logos

Associated Press
1359245_web1_1359245-d38c831164454add9e396fe95296997d
AP
Protesters gesture as they gather outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, Monday, July 1, 2019. Frustration is boiling over among opposition protesters in Hong Kong, with one group laying siege to the legislative building and tens of thousands of others marching through the city to demand expanded democracy on the 22nd anniversary of the former British colony’s return to China.
1359245_web1_1359245-141e640e1d3647778ce04baddb33247b
AP
Protesters put a Hong Kong colonial flag and deface the Hong Kong logo at the Legislative Chamber after break in to protest against the extradition bill in Hong Kong, Monday, July 1, 2019. The extradition law has aroused concerns that this legislation would undermine the city’s independent judicial system as it allows Hong Kong to hand over fugitives to the jurisdictions that the city doesn’t currently have an extradition agreement with, including mainland China, where a fair trial might not be guaranteed.
1359245_web1_1359245-94599ab6838b472a9f2838ac5d53ca99
AP
Protesters get inside the Legislative Council after they staged a rally in Hong Kong, Monday, July 1, 2019. Combative protesters are staging a protest outside the Hong Kong legislature as a crowd of thousands prepares to start a march in that direction.
1359245_web1_1359245-762efbec5aa14d82b01194bfa8f2eb7a
AP
Protesters gather outside the Legislative Council as they stage a rally in Hong Kong, Monday, July 1, 2019. Combative protesters are staging a protest outside the Hong Kong legislature as a crowd of thousands prepares to start a march in that direction.
1359245_web1_1359245-ab3137e29a244eefa3ee169bf9b11e62
AP
A protester breaks a glass wall as they try to enter the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, Monday, July 1, 2019. Combative protesters are staging a protest outside the Hong Kong legislature as a crowd of thousands prepares to start a march in that direction.
1359245_web1_1359245-c0492aba591647729705d3731057c121
AP
Police officers with shields stand guard behind the damaged glass of the Legislative Council after protesters try to break into in Hong Kong on Monday, July 1, 2019. Combative protesters tried to break into the Hong Kong legislature Monday as a crowd of thousands prepared to start a march in that direction on the 22nd anniversary of the former British colony’s return to China.
1359245_web1_1359245-ac1a7931fa5d4b37889db521bdd91092
AP
Protesters holding umbrellas face off police officers in anti-riot gear in Hong Kong on Monday, July 1, 2019. Protesters in Hong Kong pushed barriers and dumpsters into the streets early Monday morning in an apparent bid to block access to a symbolically important ceremony marking the anniversary of the return of the former British colony to China.
1359245_web1_1359245-390fe4a9bfb94545a5e3f096366b34de
AP
Ten of thousands of protesters flood the streets as they take part in a rally Monday, July 1, 2019, in Hong Kong. Combative protesters tried to break into the Hong Kong legislature Monday as a crowd of thousands prepared to start a march in that direction on the 22nd anniversary of the former British colony’s return to China.
1359245_web1_1359245-f33e55fb532c4dbfa468df0a64223b1b
AP
Police officers stand guard behind the cracked glass wall of the Legislative Council after protesters try to break into in Hong Kong on Monday, July 1, 2019. Combative protesters tried to break into the Hong Kong legislature Monday as a crowd of thousands prepared to start a march in that direction on the 22nd anniversary of the former British colony’s return to China.
1359245_web1_1359245-0cddd44003324e408491dc7b6b08e6fb
AP
Protesters try to break the glass walls of the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on Monday, July 1, 2019. Combative protesters tried to break into the Hong Kong legislature Monday as a crowd of thousands prepared to start a march in that direction on the 22nd anniversary of the former British colony’s return to China.

HONG KONG (AP) — Hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong swarmed into the legislature’s main building Monday night, tearing down portraits of legislative leaders and spray-painting pro-democracy slogans on the walls of the main chamber.

The sharp escalation in tactics came on the anniversary of the former British colony’s return to China, a city holiday, and reflected mounting frustration with Hong Kong’s leader for not responding to protesters’ demands after several weeks of demonstrations.

The protesters whacked away at thick glass windows until they shattered and broke and pried open steel security gates and propped them open with barricades to get inside. Police in riot gear retreated as the protesters entered about 9 p.m., avoiding a confrontation and giving them the run of the building.

They stood on lawmakers’ desks in the main legislative chamber, painted over the territory’s emblem high up on a wooden wall and wrote slogans calling for a democratic election of the city’s leader and denouncing now-suspended extradition legislation that sparked the protests. Many wore yellow and white helmets, face masks and the black T-shirts that have become their uniform.

Police announced about 10:30 p.m. that they would clear the area, asking protesters to leave and warning they would use “appropriate force” if they encountered resistance.

The actions prompted organizers of a separate peaceful march against the extradition bill to change the endpoint of their protest from the legislature to a nearby park, after police asked them to either call it off or change the route. Police wanted the march to end earlier in the Wan Chai district, but organizers said that would leave out many people who planned to join the march along the way.

Police estimated 190,000 people joined the peaceful march, the third major one in as many weeks.

Hong Kong has been wracked by weeks of protests over a government attempt to change extradition laws to allow suspects to be sent to China to face trial. The proposed legislation, on which debate has been suspended indefinitely, increased fears of eroding freedoms in the territory, which Britain returned to China on July 1, 1997.

Protesters want the bills formally withdrawn and Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam, to resign.

Lam, who has come under withering criticism for trying to push the legislation through, pledged to be more responsive to public sentiment but has not responded directly to protesters’ demands.

In an address after a flag-raising ceremony marking the anniversary of the handover, Lam said the protests and two marches that attracted hundreds of thousands of participants have taught her that she needs to listen better to youth and people in general.

“This has made me fully realize that I, as a politician, have to remind myself all the time of the need to grasp public sentiments accurately,” she told the gathering in the city’s cavernous convention center.

She insisted her government has good intentions, but said “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.”

Security guards pushed pro-democracy lawmaker Helena Wong out of the room as she shouted at Lam to resign and withdraw the “evil” legislation. She later told reporters she was voicing the grievances and opinions of the protesters, who could not get into the event.

The extradition bill controversy has given fresh momentum to Hong Kong’s pro-democracy opposition movement, awakening broader concerns that China is chipping away at the rights guaranteed to Hong Kong for 50 years under a “one country, two systems” framework. The two marches in June drew more than a million people, according to organizer estimates.

Jimmy Sham, a leader of the pro-democracy group that organized the march, told the crowd that Lam had not responded to their demands because she is not democratically elected. The leader of Hong Kong is chosen by a committee dominated by pro-China elites.

“We know that Carrie Lam can be so arrogant,” Sham said, rallying the crowd under a blazing sun before the start of the march at Victoria Park. “She is protected by our flawed system.”

The protesters are also demanding an independent inquiry into police actions during a June 12 protest, when officers used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a demonstration that blocked the legislature on the day that debate on the bill had been scheduled to resume.

The police say the use of force was justified, but since then have largely adopted softer tactics, even as protesters besieged police headquarters in recent days, pelting it with eggs and spray-painting slogans on its outer walls.

The area around Golden Bauhinia Square, where the flag-raising ceremony took place, was blocked off from Saturday to prevent protesters from gathering to disrupt it. Before the morning ceremony, protesters trying to force their way to the square were driven back by officers with plastic shields and batons, the retreating protesters pointing open umbrellas to ward off pepper spray.

“We are horrified, this is our obligation to do this, we are protecting our home,” said Jack, a 26-year-old office worker who would only give his first name. “I don’t know why the government is harming us. It’s harming the rule of law, the rule of law is the last firewall between us and the Chinese Communist Party.”

The extradition legislation has drawn opposition from the legal profession, commercial groups and foreign nations, reflecting Hong Kong’s status as an international business center with a strong independent judiciary and high degree of transparency.

During a brief visit to Mongolia on Monday, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said Washington expects “China like every other country to adhere to its international obligations” regarding Hong Kong.

China rejects all such statements as foreign interference. In Beijing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters at a daily briefing that “Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs, and no foreign country has the right to intervene.”

Categories: News | World
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.