Hong Kong police use tear gas against protesters who stormed government building

Protesters inside Hong Kong's Legislative Council building.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Riot police in Hong Kong used tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters who took over the Legislative Council building on Monday night.

The demonstrators were inside for three hours, and defaced the building, spray-painting on walls, destroying surveillance cameras, and smashing glass doors, The New York Times reports. Speaking to reporters early Tuesday, Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, said the "violence and lawlessness have seriously affected the core values of Hong Kong's legal system," and she condemned the protesters' actions.

Demonstrators have been hitting the streets for the last few weeks, after Lam tried to push through a bill that would change extradition laws so people arrested in Hong Kong could go on trial in China; she has since suspended the bill, but protesters want her to withdraw it completely. Eddie Chu, a pro-democracy member of the legislature, told reporters it's up to Lam and the government to come up with a solution to the crisis. "If this is left to the police and Beijing to solve, we will face the greatest tragedy we've seen in 22 years," he said.

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Monday marked the 22nd anniversary of Britain returning Hong Kong to China. At the time, the Chinese government agreed that Hong Kong could keep its civil liberty protections and justice system for 50 years, and protesters believe the extradition bill is proof of the creeping influence of Beijing.

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Catherine Garcia

Catherine Garcia is night editor for TheWeek.com. Her writing and reporting has appeared in Entertainment Weekly and EW.com, The New York Times, The Book of Jezebel, and other publications. A Southern California native, Catherine is a graduate of the University of Redlands and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.