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Hong Kong protesters occupy parliament chamber

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on July 1, 2019 - Duration: 01:58s

Hong Kong protesters occupy parliament chamber

Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters stormed the legislature on the anniversary of the city's 1997 return to China on Monday, destroying pictures and daubing walls with graffiti.

Mia Womersley reports

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Hong Kong protesters occupy parliament chamber

*EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT NOW REPLACES 1431 WITH NEW PICTURES, ADDED RESTRICTIONS* Protesters smashed their way into Hong Kong's government building on Monday (July 1) - shattering glass panels, taking apart metal structures and some even entering the building.

About a thousand people stormed into the Legislative Council... Entering the chamber, destroying pictures and daubing walls with graffiti in a direct challenge to China as anger over an extradition bill spiraled out of control.

Earlier on Monday, riot police used pepper spray and beat protesters with batons to disperse the thousands that had gathered in the morning.

July first is the official anniversary of Hong Kong's return to Chinese rule.

Protesters initially gathered near the official ceremony, with visible anger as China and Hong Kong's national flags were flown in over head.

In sharp contrast - inside the banquet hall, officials toasted and cheered the handover of the former British colony.

Embattled leader Carrie Lam made her first public appearance in over 10 days, and addressed recent events that have gripped the financial hub: (SOUNDBITE) (Cantonese) HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE, CARRIE LAM, SAYING: "This has made me fully realise that I, as a politician, have to remind myself all the time of the need to grasp public sentiments accurately.

I am also fully aware that while we have good intentions, we still need to be open and accommodating." The anniversary comes amidst deep upset over an extradition bill that has sparked the largest and most violent protests in decades.

And presented Chinese president Xi Jinping with the greatest popular challenge of his leadership.

The suspension of the bill has done little to pacify protesters.

They see it as a threat to Hong Kong's much cherished rule of law.

Protesters held their own flag raising ceremony on Monday - hoisiting the black flag at half mast outside the city's legislative council.

A poignant symbol of a deeply divided city.

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