Hong Kong police fired tear gas and a water cannon as thousands took to the streets Sunday — as controversial new security laws from China aimed at crushing the protests sparked the most intense clashes in months.
Crowds of pro-democracy demonstrators dressed in black gathered in a popular shopping district, chanting slogans such as “Stand with Hong Kong,” “Liberate Hong Kong” and “Revolution of our times.”
The protest did not receive official authorization — and broke local coronavirus social-distancing restrictions, which ban groups of more than eight people meeting.
Police raised blue flags, warning protesters to disperse, before firing multiple rounds of tear gas — then firing from a water cannon.
Protesters threw bricks and splashed unidentified liquid at officers, injuring at least four members of the police media liaison team, police said in a Facebook post.
At least 120 people were arrested, mostly on charges of unlawful assembly.
Prominent activist Tam Tak-chi was one of those arrested — having tried to argue that he was exempt from social-distancing measures because he was giving a “health talk.”
The protests that plagued Hong Kong much of last year had already returned after a respite from the coronavirus lockdown — only to intensify after China’s moves to impose tough new national security legislation on the semi-autonomous city.