Hong Kong riot police made arrests and fired pepper pellets to disperse protesters in the heart of the global financial centre on Wednesday, as new national security laws proposed by Beijing revived anti-government demonstrations.
According to police at least 180 people were arrested in the city’s Causeway Bay and Central districts for allegedly participating in unauthorised assembly.
Police also surrounded the Legislative Council where a bill was due to be debated that would criminalise disrespect of the Chinese anthem, amid soaring tensions over perceived threats to the semi-autonomous city’s freedoms.
The bill would also require that the anthem be taught in schools and sung by organisations.
The semi-autonomous Chinese territory is also on edge over China’s plans to impose “national security” legislation on Thursday.
The Legislative Council, known as Legco, began its session at 11am (03:00 GMT). The session was adjourned for lunch before resuming at past 2pm (06:00 GMT).