Hong Kong authorities dispatched hundreds of riot police to the semi-autonomous city's legislature as protesters gathered and shouted pro-democracy slogans on Wednesday ahead of a debate on a bill seeking to criminalize disrespect of China's national anthem. The legislation and China's proposed new national security law have sparked the first large street demonstrations in Hong Kong since last year. Activists say the security laws will result in the end of significant local control in Hong Kong, a former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" arrangement. Police on Sunday fired tear gas at thousands of protesters who gathered to denounce the security legislation.

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