Hong Kong police fire tear gas at pro-democracy demonstrators

Hong Kong police fire tear gas at pro-democracy demonstrators
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Hong Kong police fired water cannon and tear gas at protestors Saturday after thousands of demonstrators took to the streets over a move by China to curtail the city’s autonomy.

Beijing’s proposal would ban all secessionist and subversive activities in the city as well as foreign interference. Activists have called the move an infringement on the “one country, two systems” that China agreed to when the British handed over the city in 1997.

The proposal renewed the protests that rocked the city for the second half of 2019, but had largely gone dormant due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Police said they arrested at least 120 people, according to The Associated Press.

Officials later claimed protesters hurled bricks and an unidentified liquid at officers.

Activist Tam Tak-Chi told the AP he was arrested on charges of unauthorized assembly, and said he had been giving a “health talk” and was exempt from social-distancing rules.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday that Beijing’s proposal was an internal issue and “no external interference will be tolerated,” according to the AP, adding that the legislation “does not affect the high degree of autonomy in Hong Kong.”

“Excessive unlawful foreign meddling in Hong Kong affairs has placed China’s national security in serious jeopardy,” Wang reportedly said. “It does not affect the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents. And it does not affect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors in Hong Kong,”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: US formally rejects Beijing's South China Sea claims | House set to consider defense policy bill next week | 57 injured as firefighters battle warship blaze Pompeo formally rejects Beijing's claims in South China Sea Wells Fargo told employees to delete TikTok from work phones MORE called the legislation “a death knell” for Hong Kong autonomy, while Chris Patten, the final British governor of the city before the handover, said it would result in “a new Chinese dictatorship.”

“I think the Hong Kong people have been betrayed by China, which has proved once again that you can’t trust it further than you can throw it,” Patten told The Times of London.