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Protesters and police clash again at HK rally

Small groups of protesters attacked police, who used pepper spray and batons

HONG KONG Protesters and police clashed again in Hong Kong yesterday as unrest caused by a widely loathed plan to allow extraditions to China showed no sign of abating.

Police used pepper spray and batons against small groups of protesters who took over a road on the sidelines of another huge rally in Sha Tin, a district that lies between the main urban sprawl around the harbour and the Chinese border.

Masked protesters responded by building barricades from metal fencing and a stand-off with riot police ensued.

Hong Kong has been rocked by more than a month of huge, largely peaceful protests - as well as a series of separate violent confrontations with police.

The extradition Bill has since been postponed, but that has done little to quell public anger which has evolved into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms, universal suffrage and a halt to sliding freedoms.

Protesters are also demanding the Bill be scrapped entirely, an independent inquiry into police use of tear gas and rubber bullets, an amnesty for those arrested and for the city's leader Carrie Lam to step down.

Tens of thousands marched through Sha Tin yesterday, the fifth week in a row that Hong Kong has seen such huge rallies.

Demonstrators marched in sweltering heat of 32 deg C.

"These days, there is really no trust of China, and so the protesters come out," said Ms Jennie Kwan, 73.

"Didn't they promise 50 years, no change? And yet we've all seen the changes.

"I am already 70-something years old. What do I know about politics? But politics comes to you."

Some protesters at yesterday's event waved banners appealing to US President Donald Trump to "Please liberate Hong Kong" and "Defend our Constitution", scenes that are certain to rile Beijing which has been angered by criticism from Washington and London over the Bill. Others waved British and American flags, while banners calling for independence for Hong Kong billowed in the wind from makeshift flagpoles.

One placard featured a picture of Chinese leader Xi Jinping with the words: "Extradite to China, disappear forever."

Chants of "Carrie Lam go to hell" rang through the crowd.

The Bill has triggered outrage across broad sections of Hong Kong society. Young people, the elderly and families joined the latest protest.

The protests have fuelled Hong Kong's biggest political crisis since China regained control of it. - AFP, REUTERS

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