Protesters scuffle with Hong Kong police, government offices shut down

Scuffles broke out between protesters and police in Hong Kong on Thursday as hundreds of people remained on the streets to protest a planned extradition law with mainland China, a day after police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at demonstrators.

Protester numbers around the city’s legislature, the epicenter of the violence, swelled during Thursday to thousands at one stage, with some protesters rushing to stop police from removing supplies of face masks and food.

Uniformed police with helmets and shields blocked overhead walkways in Hong Kong’s financial district, while a long row of police vans was parked nearby.

Plainclothes police officers checked commuters’ identity papers as a massive clean up was underway, clearing streets of debris, like broken umbrellas used by protesters to protect themselves and broken barricades, left from the violent clashes.

Protesters, some still wearing face masks and goggles in case police again use tear gas, were joined by school children during the day, but their numbers eased off later to a few hundred, after a Legislative Council meeting to discuss the extradition bill was postponed.

“We will be back when, and if, it comes back for discussion again,” said protester Stephen Chan, a 20-year old university student. “We just want to preserve our energy now.”

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