Police in riot gear deployed rubber bullets and multiple rounds of tear gas against protesters occupying Connaught Road in Sheung Wan on Sunday.
The clearance operation near Shun Tak Centre comes hours after a largely peaceful march on Sunday against the government’s suspended extradition bill.
Officers had raised black banners warning protesters of the use of tear gas before firing rounds into the crowd.
An orange flag warning crowds of the use of rubber bullets was raised shortly after.
Those on the frontlines retreated shortly after, while some continued to throw objects at the police from a distance.
Pro-democracy lawmaker Ted Hui arrived on the scene, urging police to show restraint and not panic protesters.
Earlier in the day, protesters hurled eggs and balloons filled with ink at the China Liaison Office in Sai Wan, in a move that prompted condemnation from the government as a challenge to national sovereignty.
“The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government strongly condemns the protesters who blatantly challenged the national sovereignty by maliciously besieging and storming the [Liaison Office] building as well as defacing the national emblem. The HKSAR Government will deal with these acts in a serious manner in accordance with the law,” a government spokesperson said.”
The police declared a clearance operation would take place at 8.07pm.
As of 11pm, protesters continue to occupy major thoroughfares stretching from Harcourt Road in Central to Sheung Wan, many of which remain blocked by barricades which are chained together.
Police issued a statement urging demonstrators to disperse: “Police appeal to the protestors at [the] scene to stop charging Police cordon lines and leave immediately. Other members of the public and residents nearby should mind their own safety, avoid travelling to that district and stay safe.”
Organisers of Sunday’s protest, the Civil Human Rights Front, said 430,000 people participated. Police said 138,000 joined at its peak.
The march took aim at a controversial extradition bill which would allow the city to handle case-by-case fugitive transfers to jurisdictions with no prior arrangements, including China, sparking public concerns over human rights in Hong Kong.
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