UMBRELLAS OUT

Violent clashes erupted in Hong Kong ahead of Beijing’s ruling on pro-independence officials

A peaceful demonstration in Hong Kong on Nov. 6 escalated into violent clashes between protesters and police, ahead of a ruling from Beijing on the fate of two lawmaker-elects who have for weeks been unable to take their oaths to officially enter the legislature because of their pro-independence views.

The current furor began after Yau Wai-ching and Baggio Leung, who represent the Youngspiration political party, won seats in September elections to legislative council. The two proclaimed that Hong Kong is not a part of China, and used a derogatory term to refer to the mainland during their swearing-in session in October. Weeks later, the two still have not been sworn in because the Hong Kong government has legally challenged the validity of their oaths.

After a hearing on Nov. 3, a Hong Kong court is due to rule on the government’s legal challenge—but Beijing has also said that it will step in to “interpret” the relevant clause in the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s own constitution that separates it administratively and legally from mainland China.

Sunday’s protests were called to voice discontent against what many in Hong Kong view as unnecessary interference by Beijing in the city’s legal affairs, and an attempt to undermine Hong Kong’s judicial independence. Thousands turned out during the day to march to Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal, but many pushed forward or convened afterward at the Liaison Office, Beijing’s representative office in Hong Kong.

In some of the most violent scenes since January’s so-called “Fishball Revolution,” police used pepper spray against protesters wearing goggles and facemasks and carrying umbrellas—the latter a symbol of protests in Hong Kong in 2014. The protesters, including many young people wearing masks and hoods, managed to occupy parts of main roads around the Liaison Office and attempted to hold their gains, but were ultimately chased away by riot police. The protesters finally dispersed at around 2am local time Monday.

Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong shouts during a protest against what they call Beijing's interference over local politics and the rule of law a day before China's parliament is expected to announce their interpretation of the Basic Law in light of two pro independence lawmakers' oath-taking controversy in Hong Kong, China November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu - RTX2S5DE
Pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong shouts during a protest against what they call Beijing’s interference over local politics and the rule of law in Hong Kong, November 6, 2016. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu)
A protester raises a placard as thousands of people march through a downtown street in Hong Kong, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, to protest Beijing's involvement in the recent legislature spat involving two newly elected separatist lawmakers. China's top legislative panel has said Beijing must intervene in a Hong Kong political dispute to deter advocates of independence for the city, calling such acts a threat to national security. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Lawmaker Claudia Mo raises a placard as thousands of people march through downtown Hong Kong to protest Beijing’s involvement in a spat involving two newly elected pro-independence lawmakers. (AP/Vincent Yu)
A pro-China supporter shouts slogans as thousands of protesters march through a downtown street in Hong Kong, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, to protest Beijing's involvement in the recent legislature spat involving two newly elected separatist lawmakers. China's top legislative panel has said Beijing must intervene in a Hong Kong political dispute to deter advocates of independence for the city, calling such acts a threat to national security. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
A China supporter shouts slogans as a protest against Beijing goes on in Hong Kong. (AP/Vincent Yu)
Newly elected Hong Kong lawmakers Yau Wai-ching, left, and Sixtus Leung, march along with thousands of people through downtown  Hong Kong, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, to protest Beijing's involvement in the recent legislature spat involving the lawmakers. China's top legislative panel has said Beijing must intervene in a Hong Kong political dispute to deter advocates of independence for the city, calling such acts a threat to national security. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Newly elected Hong Kong lawmakers Yau Wai-ching, left, and Sixtus Leung, march with thousands of people through downtown Hong Kong. China’s top legislative panel has said Beijing must intervene in a Hong Kong political dispute to deter advocates of independence for the city, calling such acts a threat to national security. (AP/Vincent Yu)
A man holds a 'Hong Kong is Not China' flag during a protest against the Legislative Council oath-taking interpretation of the city's Basic Law, or mini-constitution, by the Chinese authorities in Beijing, in Hong Kong, China, 06 November 2016. During their swearing-in ceremony in October 2016, councillors-elect Leung and Yau altered their oaths in a provocative move against mainland China and displayed pro-independent Hong Kong flags. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) plans to discuss to overturn the oathtaking and hence bar the elected councillors, which has sparked protests in Hong Kong.  EPA/ALEX HOFFORD
Protesters hold a banner similar to one held up by Yau Wai-ching at her first Legco oath-taking attempt in October. (EPA/Alex Hofford)
An injured protestor rests on the ground during a demonstration outside the Chinese government's headquarters in Hong Kong, China, 06 November 2016. Thousands of protestors marched through the streets of Hong Kong to demonstrate against the Chinese government's controversial decision to decide the fate of two Hong Kong lawmakers who refused to pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong constitution and swore featly to the Hong Kong nation instead.  EPA/ALEX HOFFORD
An injured protestor rests on the ground during a demonstration outside the Chinese government’s headquarters in Hong Kong. (EPA/Alex Hofford)
Pro-independence legislator-elect Yau Wai-ching (R) talks with a protester during a confrontation with the police outside China Liaison Office in Hong Kong, China November 6, 2016.      REUTERS/Bobby Yip - RTX2S628
Pro-independence legislator-elect Yau Wai-ching (R) talks with a protester during a confrontation with police outside the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong. (Reuters/Bobby Yip)
Police armed with pepper spray prepare to confront protestors gathered outside the Chinese government's headquarters in Hong Kong, China, 06 November 2016. Thousands of protestors marched through the streets of Hong Kong to demonstrate against the Chinese government's controversial decision to decide the fate of two Hong Kong lawmakers who refused to pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong constitution and swore featly to the Hong Kong nation instead.  EPA/ALEX HOFFORD
Police armed with pepper spray prepare to confront protestors gathered outside the Chinese government’s headquarters in Hong Kong. (EPA/Alex Hofford)
Protesters use umbrellas to block the pepper spray from police officers after clashing outside the Chinese central government's liaison office as thousands of people march in a Hong Kong down town street, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016, to protest China's top legislative panel has said Beijing must intervene in a Hong Kong political dispute to deter advocates of independence for the city, calling such acts a threat to national security. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Protesters use umbrellas to block the pepper spray from police officers after clashing outside the Chinese central government’s liaison office as thousands of people march in Hong Kong. (AP/Vincent Yu)
Protesters use umbrellas to block the pepper spray from office officers outside the Chinese central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016. Thousands of protesters marched in Hong Kong on Sunday, demanding that China's central government stay out of a political dispute in the southern Chinese city after Beijing indicated that it would intervene to deter pro-independence advocates. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
Protesters use umbrellas to block pepper spray from police officers outside the Chinese central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong. (AP/Vincent Yu)
Protesters scuffle with police officers after clashing as thousands of people march in a Hong Kong street, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016. Thousands of protesters marched in Hong Kong on Sunday, demanding that China's central government stay out of a political dispute in the southern Chinese city after Beijing indicated that it would intervene to deter pro-independence advocates. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Protesters scuffle with police officers as thousands of people march in a Hong Kong street. (AP/Kin Cheung)
A protester wears Guy Fawkes mask during a confrontation with the police outside China Liaison Office in Hong Kong, China, November 6, 2016.      REUTERS/Bobby Yip - RTX2S652
A protester wears Guy Fawkes mask during a confrontation with the police outside the China Liaison Office in Hong Kong. (Reuters/Bobby Yip)
A protester raises an umbrella sitting in front of a line of police officers outside the Chinese central government's liaison office in Hong Kong, Sunday, Nov. 6, 2016. Thousands of protesters marched in Hong Kong on Sunday, demanding that China's central government stay out of a political dispute in the southern Chinese city after Beijing indicated that it would intervene to deter pro-independence advocates. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
A protester raises an umbrella sitting in front of a line of police officers outside the Chinese central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong. (AP/Vincent Yu)
A demonstrator wears a Guy Fawkes mask as he stands in front of police during a protest in Hong Kong. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu)
A demonstrator wears a Guy Fawkes mask as he stands in front of police during a protest in Hong Kong. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu))
Police prepare to confront protestors gathered outside the Chinese government's headquarters in Hong Kong, China, 06 November 2016. Thousands of protestors marched through the streets of Hong Kong to demonstrate against the Chinese government's controversial decision to decide the fate of two Hong Kong lawmakers who refused to pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong constitution and swore featly to the Hong Kong nation instead.  Police prepare to confront protestors gathered outside the Chinese government's headquarters in Hong Kong, China, 06 November 2016. Thousands of protestors marched through the streets of Hong Kong to demonstrate against the Chinese government's controversial decision to decide the fate of two Hong Kong lawmakers who refused to pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong constitution and swore featly to the Hong Kong nation instead.  EPA/ALEX HOFFORD
Police prepare to confront protestors gathered outside the Chinese government’s headquarters in Hong Kong. (EPA/Alex Hofford)
Protesters are pepper sprayed by police during a protest against what they call Beijing's interference over local politics and the rule of law, a day before China's parliament is expected to announce their interpretation of the Basic Law in light of two pro-independence lawmakers' oath-taking controversy in Hong Kong, China, November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu - RTX2S5D7
Protesters are pepper sprayed by police during a protest in Hong Kong. (Reuters/Tyrone Siu)
Protestors gather outside the Chinese government's headquarters in Hong Kong, China, 06 November 2016. Thousands of protestors marched through the streets of Hong Kong to demonstrate against the Chinese government's controversial decision to decide the fate of two Hong Kong lawmakers who refused to pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong constitution and swore featly to the Hong Kong nation instead.  Protestors gather outside the Chinese government's headquarters in Hong Kong, China, 06 November 2016. Thousands of protestors marched through the streets of Hong Kong to demonstrate against the Chinese government's controversial decision to decide the fate of two Hong Kong lawmakers who refused to pledge allegiance to the Hong Kong constitution and swore featly to the Hong Kong nation instead.  EPA/ALEX HOFFORD
Protestors gather outside the Chinese government’s headquarters and block a minibus in Hong Kong. (EPA/Alex Hofford)
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