Hong Kong police fired pepper spray balls at protesters protesting the government’s decision to postpone the province’s legislative elections.
Nearly 300 people were arrested in an unauthorized demonstration on Sunday evening.
The elections were scheduled to take place on Sunday, the sixth of September, but the government postponed them for a year, considering that the postponement was necessary, in light of the high incidence of Coronavirus.
The opposition accuses the government of using the epidemic as an excuse to prevent people from voting.
Opposition activists had hoped to gain a majority in the provincial legislature, taking advantage of anger over Beijing’s imposition of Hong Kong’s controversial national security law, and fears of eroding freedoms in the region.
Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China in 1997 under an agreement aimed at ensuring a high degree of autonomy for a period of 50 years.
And the pro-democracy candidates made unprecedented gains in the district council elections last year, winning in 17 of the 18 councils.
What happened in the Sunday protests?
Thousands of people took to the streets of Hong Kong to mark the day the elections were due.
They chanted, “Give us back our right to vote,” and groups of protesters marched a short distance, before heavily armed riot police confronted them.
Local media reported that at least 289 people were arrested.
“I want my right to vote! Shame on the government to postpone the elections,” a local news site quoted one of the detainees, Young Kwok-hong, as saying.
Earlier, a prominent opposition activist, Tam Tak Che, was arrested on charges of making speeches inciting hatred against the government.
He was detained by the police, who are working to enforce the strict national security law on Chinese soil, which was imposed by the Beijing government last June, and criminalizes many forms of political expression.