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Hong Kong police forcibly remove protesters from legislative chambers

Hong Kong police forcibly remove protesters from legislative chambers
© Getty Images

Police in Hong Kong have begun forcibly removing protesters from the semiautonomous region's legislative chambers, according to multiple media reports.

Activists had stormed the Legislative Council, breaking a floor-to-ceiling window with a cargo cart and large poles, earlier in the day to express opposition to a bill that would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to China, which has spurred weeks of public demonstrations.

Officials had vowed to “sweep” the building using “reasonable force,” The Washington Post reported.

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The escalating protests come on the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong's transfer back to China from the United Kingdom.

Protesters reportedly spray-painted slogans on the wall, placed the former British colonial flag over the territory’s emblem and tore down portraits of legislative leaders.

The bill has sparked local worries about mainland China’s broadening control over Hong Kong. When the city was transferred to Chinese rule, a guarantee was made that it would have a legal system independent of Beijing.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam suspended the controversial bill last month after hundreds of thousands of demonstrators flooded the city, but that was not enough to quell protests.

Protesters are demanding the bill be formally withdrawn and that Lam resign.