Police fire pepper balls at Central protest - RTHK
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Police fire pepper balls at Central protest

2020-05-27 HKT 13:42
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  • Police fire pepper balls at Central protest
Police fired pepper balls at protesters who gathered in Central for a lunchtime protest on Wednesday over Hong Kong's future national anthem and national security laws.

Hundreds of people were in the area around Pedder Street chanting slogans including "Five demands not one less" and "Disband the police immediately".

They were repeatedly warned by officers to disperse or risk being arrested for taking part in an illegal assembly.

Groups of demonstrators raced through the streets of the financial district at times, with riot police also charging across roads and setting up cordons to hold members of the press back.

Attempts were made to block roads with various items such as rubbish bins, while some shops in the area asked customers to leave and pulled down their shutters.

Police later settled a group of people, some of whom appeared to be wearing office attire, into an area near the IFC mall and World-Wide House. They were later seen being taken away in a coach.

Apart from Central, crowds also took to the streets of Causeway Bay making similar demands, and dozens of people were held by the side of the road.

Police also stopped and searched people in Wan Chai, and blocked off one side of Nathan Road in Mong Kok over a protest there. A number of young people, including school girls, were held for a search in a sitting-out area in Mong Kok.

The demonstrations came ahead of an afternoon meeting in Legco where debate was to resume on a new law which will criminalise any "disrespect" for the national anthem. Offenders are to face a fine of up to HK$50,000 or three years in prison.