Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have broken into a government building to protest an extradition agreement with China.
What’s the background?
When Hong Kong was returned to China by the United Kingdom in 1997, it became a special administrative region with more autonomy than most of China. Instead of having to adopt China’s strict version of communism, China agreed to a “one country, two systems” outline that gave the island city a degree of freedom that mainland Chinese citizens could only dream of.
Recently, Hong Kong’s government was considering a bill that would make it easier for China to extradite fugitives from Hong Kong to the mainland. This led to angry protests that were met with police armed with tear gas, rubber bullets, and water hoses. This bill has since been shelved, but many citizens are angry that it was even being considered.
The protesters are calling for the resignation of city officials, including Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who has taken responsibility for introducing the bill in the first place.
What happened now?
On Monday, protesters gathered in Hong Kong by the tens of thousands to protest the bill on the 22nd anniversary of the U.K. returning Hong Kong to China.
Hundreds of these protesters broke into the headquarters of the government of Hong Hong and spray-painted the walls of the island’s Legislative Council chamber with their slogans. Police reportedly used tear gas to try to stop the protesters. Some of the protesters were wearing hard hats, masks, umbrellas, and goggles.
“The government didn’t do anything when two million people asked them to. This is why we’re taking further action,” one protester, an unnamed university student, said, according to CNN.
The government has condemned the actions of the protesters as “extremely violent” and promised that authorities would use “appropriate enforcement action to protect public order and safety.”