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Hong Kong police fire tear gas in latest clash with protesters

Hong Kong police fire tear gas in latest clash with protesters
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Police in Hong Kong fired tear gas at protesters Saturday after a period of nonviolence during weeks of pro-democracy protests. 

Police said in a statement that officers "deployed tear gas and minimum force" to disperse protesters after some aimed laser beams at officers and hurled bricks at police lines. Authorities also said they used tear gas and minimum force after protesters hurled bricks at officers and started fires. 

"Such acts pose a serious threat to the citizens and officers on the scene," said the statement about the bricks and laser beams. 

Protesters were also accused of vandalizing government property, destroying lampposts and setting up barricades that affected traffic and emergency services. 

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Thousands participated in demonstrations on Saturday. According to CNN, the protests, entering their 12th week, began with opposition to an extradition bill that will now not be implemented, but protesters have since demanded full democracy and police accountability.

More than 1.7 millon people joined last weekend's protest organizers said, according to multiple reports. Hong Kong's top leader Carrie Lam said after last weekend that she would listen more and reach out to the community, according to an official transcript of her remarks