As the protests in Hong Kong continue to unfold, the 22nd anniversary of the city’s shift from British to Chinese rule occurred amidst the events. City chief Carrie Lam attended the annual flag-raising ceremony in commemoration of the date, all while the police used pepper spray and batons to contain demonstrators.
The protests have been occurring in regards to the recent controversial extradition bill, which would allow individuals to be sent to mainland China for trial. The government has since agreed to suspend it, but the rallies have not ceased. They demand a complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, revoking the term “riot” to describe protests on June 12th, releasing all detained activists, and investigations into police violence.
Individuals were stated by the police to have blocked several roads and taken iron poles and guard rails from construction sites. They were condemned as “illegal acts” and the police consistently warned the demonstrators to not throw bricks or charge cordon lines. There are several reports of injured protesters. Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that at least one woman was seen bleeding from a head wound suffered from police clashes.
On the other side, however, the police stated that 13 officers had been taken to the hospital after protesters threw an “unknown liquid” at them, resulting in some having breathing problems.
The flag-raising ceremony to mark the handover took place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre amid heavy police presence. Carrie Lam stated she would devote more time to listening to the people. “I will learn the lesson and ensure that the government’s future work will be closer and more responsive to the aspirations, sentiments and opinions of the community,” she said.