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EXTRADITION

Violence breaks out as police try to clear Hong Kong protesters

Hong Kong protestors demanding that the authorities scrap a proposed extradition bill.
Hong Kong protestors demanding that the authorities scrap a proposed extradition bill. © Reuters

Police fought with protesters in Hong Kong on Sunday night, using batons and pepper spray as they tried to clear demonstrators from the city's parliament after a massive demonstration against plans to allow extraditions to China.

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Organisers said more than a million people marched in blazing summer heat through the cramped streets of the financial hub's main island in a noisy but initialy peaceful demonstration calling on the government to scrap its planned extradition law.

Protesters hurled bottles and used metal barricades as police moved in on a small group who had vowed to stay outside the legislature overnight.

The demonstration was by far the biggest the international finance hub has experienced since it was returned to China by Britain -- beaten only by a 1.5 million-strong demonstration during colonial rule in 1989 supporting the Tiananmen Square protesters.

Hong Kong's pro-Beijing leaders are pushing a bill through the legislature that would allow extraditions to any jurisdiction with which the territory does not already have a treaty -- including mainland China.

But the proposals have sparked an outcry and have unified opposition across a wide cross-section of the city's inhabitants.

Police, who systematically give much lower figures than organisers, put the peak crowd size at 240,000 -- still their second highest estimate since the handover.

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