Beijing, May 24 (efe-epa).- Thousands of citizens demonstrated in the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday in protest against a new security law from Beijing.
Police fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters in the central business district of Causeway Bay, according to reports in Hong Kong newspaper the China South Morning Post.
The proposed new law from China would take away many of the current freedoms for residents in the territory.
Activists have denounced the legislation as a threat to civil liberties and the end of the “one country, two systems” rule, a constitutional principle outlining the governance of the city when it was handed over from the United Kingdom to China more than 20 years ago.
The legislation would prohibit any act of “treason, secession, sedition and subversion” against the central government, in addition to theft of state secrets and the organization of activities in Hong Kong by foreign political groups.
It is currently being debated in the Chinese National People’s Congress and is due to be approved before its conclusion on Thursday.
Marches took place along several of the city’s main roads, some of which were blocked with fences and other barricades.
Protesters chanted slogans such as “Free Hong Kong. Revolution of our time” and held banners reading “Heaven will destroy the Chinese Communist Party”.
Other activists waved the United States’ flag and called for Hong Kong’s independence.
At least four people were detained by police during clashes, during which officers fired pepper spray.
They also used an armored vehicle and a water cannon operated by members of the special tactical squad.
The police issued a statement saying they had used “the minimum necessary force, including tear gas” and that protesters had thrown umbrellas and bottles of water at them.
Hong Kong has been gripped by political unrest and demonstrations for several years, which had been gaining momentum in the months leading up to the coronavirus outbreak, which led to them being suspended.
The territory was returned to Chinese control in 1997 after a century and a half of British rule, after London and Beijing signed a joint declaration in 1984 under which the UK renounced its last Asian colony.
This deal established a series of freedoms in the city for 50 years, many of which do not exist on mainland China. EFE-EPA