Thousands of demonstrators stormed a key road next to Hong Kong’s government offices on Wednesday to protest against a proposed extradition bill, in scenes reminiscent of the Umbrella Movement that brought the city to a standstill in 2014.
The protesters gathered in and around Lung Wo Road, an important east-west artery near the offices of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, as hundreds of riot police warned them to stop advancing.
Five years after pro-democracy protesters rocked the city, protesters once again erected barricades to block traffic in the heart of the Asian financial centre, with many defying police calls to retreat.
Police used pepper spray on protesters – many wearing face masks, helmets or goggles – at the legislative council building and held up signs warning demonstrators they were prepared to use force if the crowds didn’t stop charging.
Ms Lam said she would press ahead with the controversial legislation, which would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial, despite deep concerns across the Asian financial hub that triggered on Sunday its biggest political demonstration since its handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997.