Fresh anti-government protests erupted at Hong Kong Parliament on Monday, July 1, which marks the 22nd anniversary of the autonomous territory's handover from Britain to China. Demonstrators stormed into the legislative building, smashing their way through reinforced glass windows and prising open metal shutters that were blocking their way. The unprecedented act of civil disobedience has further escalated an ongoing crisis that is testing Beijing's grip over the city.
Footage broadcast live on i-Cable News showed dozens of masked protesters, many carrying makeshift shields, swarming into the entrance of the building after hours of forcing their way in. Riot police, who had earlier used pepper spray to try and beat the protesters back, appeared to have retreated deeper inside the complex.
In the wake of this massive protest, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam promised to be "more open and accommodating", while police warned people not to join the march over fears of a "safety threat". However, tens of thousands did not pay heeds to any of those words and showed up in a procession that again shut down roads.
The fresh Hong Kong protest comes weeks after the huge demonstrations against a controversial extradition bill which many fear could be used to deport political activists and dissidents to mainland China. The said bill was proposed on April 3, and its opposers argue that its controversial amendments will leave anyone on Hong Kong soil vulnerable to being grabbed by the Chinese authorities for political reasons or inadvertent business offences.
Amid these ongoing tensions, protestors considered the July 1 occasion as their final chance for a massive stand against a government they believe is still not working in their interests.
July 1, the anniversary of the handover, has always been marked by marches featuring hundreds of thousands of people who want to demonstrate the unique status and democratic characteristics of Hong Kong, an autonomous territory and former British colony in southeastern China.