60 injured in Hong Kong protests, 3 badly: police

03, Jul. 2019

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HONG KONG, Kyodo - About 60 people were left injured during Monday's protests in central Hong Kong that saw police clear the territory's legislature building of vandals using tear gas, police said Tuesday.

Of the roughly 60, three were badly injured. The chief of Hong Kong police said earlier that 15 police officers were taken to hospital for treatment after having liquid and powder thrown at them by protesters.

Monday marked the 22nd anniversary of the former British colony's handover to China and the day descended into chaos after several hundred protesters managed to break through reinforced glass windows and a metal gate to enter the Legislative Council building in the afternoon.

The legislative chamber's walls were painted with slogans such as “No to China extradition,” “Release the martyrs” and “Carrie Lam step down.” Some portraits were damaged.

Most protesters, including those who had occupied the legislature building, left before midnight. Police dispersed the remaining crowd shortly after midnight firing numerous tear gas canisters and charging at them.

At a news conference in the early hours of Tuesday, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam condemned the storming of the legislature building and vowed to “pursue responsibility against those who committed illegal acts and broke the law.”

Lam said she felt “angered and disheartened” to witness the acts carried out by the people who stormed and vandalized the building.

“This is something that we should seriously condemn because nothing is more important than rule of law in Hong Kong.”

Later Tuesday, the Chinese government issued a statement condemning the storming of the building by protesters, according to state-run Xinhua News Agency.

A protest march that according to the organizer drew some 550,000 people also took place Monday to demand the complete withdrawal of an extradition bill that could facilitate the transfer of fugitives to mainland China. Hong Kong's government has said work on the bill has been halted, and that even if passed it would be allowed to expire in July 2020.

Police said turnout for the march was about 190,000.

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