Hong Kong protesters storm government building over China extradition bill
Hong Kong police say 13 officers were injured when protesters threw an unidentified liquid at them in a clash on Monday morning.
The injured officers were sent to hospital, according to a statement released by police.
Officers said a group of protesters had blocked the road and charged at a police cordon.
"Police officers at the scene were injured and among them, some experienced difficulty in breathing and had swollen and itchy skin. Thirteen officers were sent to the hospital for treatment. The case was taken up by the Organised Crime and Triad Bureau," the police statement read.
CNN's team on the ground saw police charging at protesters in the same incident.
Hundreds of protesters are sheltering under the awnings of Hong Kong's government headquarters.
Protesters take shade: Tents are still up from people who stayed overnight, and hundreds are napping on the ground in the shade.
They’re trying to conserve energy -- the main protest doesn't even begin until about 3 p.m. this afternoon.
Setting up shop: Around them are makeshift supply stores, a memorial to protesters who died last month, a first-aid stand and a banner-making station.
There is also protest art on the walls -- some featuring Hong Kong’s increasingly unpopular leader Carrie Lam. One poster depicts her in front of a Communist flag and calls her "the killer of Hong Kong."
Hong Kong citizens can't fully elect their own government -- but they do enjoy freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of assembly, and the city has a long history of political protest.
Here are some major protests in recent years:
- June 4 vigils: Every year since the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing, Hong Kong has hosted a candlelight vigil on June 4. The vigils have also become an outlet to express anxiety about the state of Hong Kong and its future. This year tens of thousands of people attended to mark the 30th anniversary of the massacre.
- Opposing Article 23: In 2003, the government proposed a law criminalizing acts of sedition and subversion against mainland China under Article 23 of the city's de facto constitution, the Basic Law. On 1 July that year, more than 500,000 people marched to demand the Article 23 law be withdrawn and that the Chief Executive step down -- both of which eventually happened.
- Anti-Moral and National Education Protest: In 2011, up to 120,000 mainly young people demonstrated against a proposed civics class in all Hong Kong schools. Protesters argued the class was "brainwashing" students with biased information about mainland China. After the demonstrations, which were led in part by a student activist called Joshua Wong, the government withdrew the proposal.
- The Umbrella Revolution: This 2014 pro-democracy movement began with civil disobedience and calls for free elections. Then it evolved into the Umbrella Movement, named after the umbrellas used as shields against police pepper spray and tear gas. More than 100,000 protesters occupied and largely controlled parts of the city for 79 days -- but ultimately they were cleared from the streets and the way Hong Kong chooses its leader remained unchanged.
Read more about Hong Kong protests here.
Police have completely retreated from the crucial Harcourt Road artery in Admiralty after an earlier stand-off with protesters.
For now, protesters have been left alone -- and they’re using that time to build up new barricades closer to police headquarters.
What protesters are up to: Some protesters are unscrewing fences and dragging them across the street. Others have dug up bricks from the footpath.
As with other protests last month, there’s a strong sense of collective spirit. Near where protesters dug up bricks, people are collecting trash. Others are handing out water. Protesters are also passing out cling film to wrap around bare arms, to protect against pepper spray.
Protesting in the heat: It’s 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit) outside, with humidity levels reaching 79%, according to the Hong Kong Observatory. Earlier, a van carrying water supplies drove into the crowd, prompting cheers.
Many protesters have also moved into shade under building entrances, where organizers have collected bags of supplies -- protective hard hats, water and banners.
The Wan Chai and Admiralty subway stations, which had been shut down earlier today, are "gradually resuming," the MTR said.
The two stations are some of the busiest on the Tsuen Wan, Island and South Island lines.
Hong Kong artist Kacey Wong is dressed for protest -- wearing black all over, carrying a black flag, donning a face mask and with a GoPro camera strapped to his chest in case police get violent.
Wong and thousands of other pro-democracy protesters are gathering in Admiralty, occupying the streets outside the government and police headquarters.
“This is a war. A war on culture, to be specific. If we win, our prize is very humble -- we get to keep our language, our way of life. If we lose, then the price is heavy," Wong said.
The black flag, an altered version of the Hong Kong flag, represents freedom and death, Wong said. He notes that the territory has only ever had flags chosen by Britain or China.
“The extradition law is seen as something that is only happening to Hong Kong,” he says. “But if you look more deeply, it will actually affect every nation on planet Earth. Any other nations’ citizens can be abducted back to China.”
Over the last month, critics have argued that the extradition bill could be used to send anyone on Hong Kong soil to mainland China for political or inadvertent business offences -- and encroach upon the city's rule of law and political freedoms.
What’s happening in Hong Kong is a “threat to the civilization of the free world," Wong said. “Hong Kong is just the first wave.”
As Hong Kong's streets fill with protesters, the city's transportation system is taking a hit.
Subway stations at Wan Chai and Admiralty -- some of the biggest and busiest on Hong Kong Island -- are closed. Trains on the Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong and South Island lines won't stop at those stations.
Meanwhile, traffic is blocked in the Central and Admiralty districts as protesters cordon off streets with makeshift barricades and dumpsters.
Thousands of people are gathering on Harcourt and Lung Wo roads, with police working to disperse crowds.