Hong Kong protesters overrun parliament chamber after storming govt building

Protesters have forced their way into the central chamber of Hong Kong’s parliament after an hours-long siege.

Dozens of demonstrators broke through the glass of the Legislative Council (LegCo) building earlier in the day.

Hundreds then entered the building, spray-painting messages on the walls and carrying supplies for those occupying the premises.

The unrest followed a peaceful protest involving hundreds of thousands over a controversial extradition law.

Late yesterday evening, police warned that protesters must clear the building or face “appropriate force”.

Shortly before midnight, most of the demonstrators had left the building – though dozens remained in the central chamber alongside numerous members of the press.

Extensive damage was done to the building, with portraits of political leaders torn from the walls and furniture smashed.

Inside the central legislative chamber, one protester sprayed black paint across the emblem of Hong Kong on the rear wall – while another raised the old British colonial flag.

Pro-democracy demonstrators had taken to the streets on the anniversary of the city’s handover from UK to Chinese rule.

This is the latest in a series of protests against a controversial bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China.

The government has agreed to suspend it indefinitely, but rallies continue and Chief Executive Carrie Lam is facing calls to resign.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, has been part of China since 1997 under a “one country, two systems” deal that guarantees it a level of autonomy. Pro-democracy events are held every year to mark the handover.

UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt tweeted that “UK support for Hong Kong and its freedoms is UNWAVERING on this anniversary day”.

Yesterday morning, a flag-raising ceremony to mark the handover took place inside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, amid a heavy police presence.

Demonstrators blocked several roads nearby early using items like metal and plastic barriers.

Police officers equipped with shields, batons and pepper spray clashed with hundreds of protesters about 30 minutes before the ceremony.

At least one woman was seen bleeding from a head wound after the clashes, AFP news agency says.

A police statement condemned “illegal acts” by protesters who, it said, had taken iron poles and guard rails from nearby building sites. –BBC

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