PRO-democracy protesters sang ‘God save the Queen’ and waved Union Flags during the latest outbreaks of violence in Hong Kong.
Riot cops fired water cannons and volleys of tear gas to combat masked mobs throwing petrol bombs at state buildings in the former British colony on Sunday.
Pro-democracy protesters wave flags and chant slogans outside the UK embassy[/caption]
The protesters mocked the Chinese state with images of the Queen[/caption]
The marchers took to the streets of the former Bit colony despite a police ban[/caption]
Earlier, a mix of hard-core protesters wearing masks and families with children had marched through downtown Hong Kong in defiance of a police ban.
Some threw bricks at police outside an army base and tore down and set fire to a red banner proclaiming the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
The water cannons used had been adapted to fire blue jets of dyed water to help state cops identify the protesters later.
“Radical protesters are currently occupying Harcourt Road in Admiralty, vandalising Central Government Offices and repeatedly throwing petrol bombs inside,” the police said.
Thousands of protesters, many clad in black masks, raced through the streets of the financial hub in cat-and-mouse tactics with police, setting street fires and blocking roads in the heart of the city.
Some threw petrol bombs at state buildings during Sunday’s protests[/caption]
Several banners were emblazoned with images of Winston Churchill[/caption]
Cops fired blue dye at the crowds to make it easier to track down individuals later[/caption]
Authorities moved quickly to douse the fires and police fired volleys of tear gas to disperse protesters, including in the bustling shopping and tourist district of Causeway Bay.
Violence erupted in the district of Fortress Hill on the east of the island as men in white t-shirts, some wielding rods, clashed with anti-government activists.
A heavy police presence could be seen in and around subway stations.
Rail operator MTR Corp has become a prime target of vandalism, with activists angry that it closes stations during protests and prevents demonstrators from gathering.
Shops in key protest areas once again shuttered early as more than three months of demonstrations continued to take a toll on business.
HONG KONG'S HISTORY
Hong Kong became a British colony with the end of the First Opium War in 1842.
The British fought the war to preserve the right of the East India Company to sell opium into mainland China.
The establishment of the colony gave Britain control over a number of ports to which foreign merchants could deliver goods.
Britain obtained a 99-year lease for the territory in 1898, and relinquished control when that lease expired in 1997.
Hong Kong now operates as a semi-autonomous territory, with control over its own trade, tax, and immigration policy.
Under the terms of the 1997 handover, that status is protected until 2047.
What happens after then is currently undecided, but opponents of the Beijing government fear that China will seek to gain control of the territory.
While the turnout on Sunday was smaller than previous weekends, the unrest underscores the defiance of many activists.
Demonstrators are angry about what they see as creeping interference by Beijing in their city’s affairs despite a promise of autonomy.
The spark for the protests was planned legislation, now withdrawn, that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial.
Earlier on Sunday, protesters gathered peacefully outside the British Consulate, calling on Britain to rein in China and ensure it respects the city’s freedoms.
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The Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984, lays out Hong Kong’s future after its return to China in 1997, a “one country, two systems” formula that ensures freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland.
However, “Sino-British Joint Declaration is VOID,” one placard read in the protest outside the British Consulate. “SOS Hong Kong,” read another.
“One country, two systems is dead,” protesters shouted in English under umbrellas shielding them from the sun.
One man cleans his eyes after tear gas was fired by the riot police[/caption]
Many carried the umbrellas which have become the symbol of the protests[/caption]
A woman protects herself from tear gas during a demo near Central Government Complex[/caption]
An anti-government protester carries a laser pointer ‘gun’ during the clashes[/caption]
An anti-government protester prepares to throw a Molotov cocktail at riot cops[/caption]
A photographer on the frontline during the weekend’s riots[/caption]