Pro-democracy protestors in Hong Kong waved union jacks and sang “God save the Queen” outside the British consulate before violence erupted in the province again.
At the largest round of protests since chief executive Carrie Lam withdrew a bill that would have allowed the extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China, police blasted demonstrators with a chemically tainted, blue-dyed liquid from water cannon that would allow them to be identified later and arrested.
Conventional waters cannons were also deployed along with tear gas, after activists threw Molotov cocktails and bricks at police barriers outside the city’s government office.
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Police had earlier refused a request by the Civil Human Rights Front to hold the protest action – with thousands turning up to the march from the Causeway Bay shopping street to the city’s business district.
“I feel this is our duty,” 50-year-old protester Winne Leung, said. “The government wants to block us with the ban, but I want to say that the people will not be afraid”.
The march was the largest since Ms Lam said the government was withdrawing the extradition bill “in order to fully allay public concerns”.
The decision has not stopped the protests, which have since focused on democracy in the region.
Hundreds of activists met outside the British consulate, on Sunday. Some chanted “UK save Hong Kong” while waving union jack flags.
Others sang “God Save the Queen”.
Some carried banners declaring the one country, two systems policy deployed by Beijing “dead”.
The action followed on from similar rallies outside the British and US consulates this month.
Those marches were also marked by the kind of violence and vandalism that has become almost routine in the semi-autonomous state.
Chinese flags and banners marking the communist party’s 70th year in power were torn down and burned, while windows and surveillance cameras at a subway station were smashed.
In the North Point area police let tear gas rain down on protestors blocking roads, while shops including the Sogo department store – one of the city’s largest – closed their doors.
Additional reporting by AP.