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Umbrellas And F-Bombs For Independence

FAM: Continuing coverage from Aljazeera on #Oathgate protests:


 (Aljazeera) – Street battles erupted as thousands in Hong Kong protested China’s intervention in a dispute over whether two recently elected pro-independence lawmakers should be barred from taking office.

On Sunday scuffles broke out and police pepper-sprayed some demonstrators as they marched from Wan Chai district to the city’s Central financial district, with several hundred pressing on to Beijing’s Liaison Office – where demonstrators charged metal fences set up by police.

“This is outrageous,” said Jay, a bespectacled 21-year-old student who wore a mask to protect against the pepper spray.

“The Chinese government is destroying Hong Kong’s judicial independence. It’s an attempt to control what we think. Even people who are against independence are coming out against this.”

Protesters Scuffle with Police. (AP/Kin Cheung)
Protesters Scuffle with Police. (AP/Kin Cheung)

Some protesters threw bottles at security forces and others hoisted open umbrellas in the air – a symbol reminiscent of student-led pro-democracy demonstrations in 2014 when hundreds of thousands came out and blocked key Hong Kong streets, attracting global attention.Organisers put Sunday’s protest numbers at 11,000 and police said 8,000 turned out. A number of arrests were made.

Police preparing for the assault on protesters. (EPA/Alex Hofford)
Police preparing for the assault on protesters. (EPA/Alex Hofford)

Last week, China passed a ruling that could preclude lawmakers Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung from the opportunity to redo their swearing-in ceremonies in the city’s legislative council – since their oaths in October were rejected because they deliberately misread them to protest for greater sovereignty in Hong Kong.

Beijing’s law that could reshape the autonomous territory’s constitution came as courts in Hong Kong debated whether or not Yau and Baggio could retake their oaths. Both pledged allegiance to the “Hong Kong nation” and displayed a “Hong Kong is not China” banner during their swearing-in ceremonies.

The pair have been described by Chinese officials as a threat to their country’s sovereignty and security.

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