A small group of protesters smashed out the bottom of a floor-to-ceiling window at Hong Kong's legislature Monday as a crowd of thousands marched through the city demanding democracy on the 22nd anniversary of the former British colony's return to China. The protesters repeatedly rammed a cargo cart and large poles into the glass panel. After the cart got wedged into the damaged window pane, police inside grabbed it and repelled the protesters with pepper spray, the AP reports. Officers lined up with riot shields on the other side of the broken window to prevent anyone from entering. The clash prompted organizers to change the endpoint of the protest march from the legislature to a nearby park, after police asked them to either call it off or change the route.
The protesters are opposed to a government attempt to change extradition laws to allow suspects to be sent to China to face trial. The proposed legislation, on which debate has been suspended indefinitely, increased fears of eroding freedoms in the territory, which Britain returned to China on July 1, 1997. Protesters want the bills formally withdrawn and embattled leader Carrie Lam to resign. In an address after a flag-raising ceremony marking the anniversary of the handover, Lam said a series of protests in recent weeks have taught her that she needs to listen better to youth and people in general. Security guards pushed pro-democracy lawmaker Helena Wong out of the room as she shouted at Lam to resign and withdraw the "evil" legislation.
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