Once a lofty hall, the main chamber of the Legislative Council (LegCo) Complex is now a scene of destruction after protesters stormed the building and vandalised its interior in an unprecedented display of civil unrest.
Hundreds of masked protesters broke in through the rear of LegCo on Monday evening, smashing through glass doors and prising open metal shutters hours after occupying major thoroughfares in Admiralty. The interior was vandalised at around midnight, with furniture overturned and graffiti spray-painted onto walls. Police deployed tear gas to clear the surrounding roads shortly after as the remaining protesters poured out of the building.
The incident coincided with the end of a separate, largely peaceful July 1 democracy march which took place on the 22nd anniversary of the city’s 1997 Handover.
Hong Kong police said officers from the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau and the Identification Bureau, working with government chemists, arrived at the building on Wednesday to collect evidence: “Police will bring the culprits to justice,” the statement read.
LegCo President Andrew Leung told reporters on Tuesday that the parliament would not hold meetings for the next two weeks as repair works would likely take some time.
He added that security, electrical and fire safety systems had been damaged during the siege, though no security guards were injured.
The political crisis over the government’s reviled extradition bill has deepened over months of mass protests, which have morphed into a wider display of discontent over dwindling freedoms, calls for democracy, and alleged police misconduct relating to the use of crowd control weapons on June 12. The bill was suspended on June 15, but not axed.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam condemned the protesters’ actions on Monday as extremely violent saying the government would hold those responsible to account.