Hong Kong police fired tear gas and a water cannon at protesters in a popular shopping district Sunday, as thousands took to the streets to march against China's move to impose national security legislation on the city. Pro-democracy supporters have sharply criticized a proposal, set to be approved by China's rubber-stamp parliament this week, that would ban secessionist and subversive activity, as well as foreign interference, in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. The pro-democracy camp says the proposal goes against the “one country, two systems” framework that promises Hong Kong freedoms not found in mainland China. Crowds of demonstrators dressed in black gathered in the Causeway Bay district on Sunday, the AP reports, chanting slogans such as "Stand with Hong Kong" and "Liberate Hong Kong."
The protest was a continuation of a monthslong pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong that began last year and has at times descended into violence between police and protesters. Police raised blue flags, warning protesters to disperse, before firing multiple rounds of tear gas. They later fired a water cannon at the demonstrators. At least 180 people were arrested, mostly on charges of unlawful assembly, police said. They also said that some of the protesters threw bricks and splashed unidentified liquid at officers, injuring at least four members of the police media liaison team. Earlier in the afternoon, prominent activist Tam Tak-chi was arrested for what police said was unauthorized assembly. Tam said he was giving a "health talk" and was exempt from social-distancing measures that prohibit gatherings of more than eight people.
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