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Riot police in Hong Kong have fired water cannon, tear gas and pepper spray through clashes with anti-government protesters.

The most up-to-date violent confrontations, which saw some demonstrators hurl petrol bombs at official buildings, comply with weeks of pro-democracy unrest in the city.

An anti-government protester throws a molovot cocktail during a demonstration
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Petrol bombs had been thrown by some anti-government protesters

It will fuel fears of escalating violence in the run up to China’s National Day on 1 October, marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.

Thousands of protesters, a lot of clad in black with umbrellas and carrying pro-democracy posters, sang songs and chanted Stand With Hong Kong, Fight For Freedom as they marched on government offices, in defiance of a police ban.

Blue-coloured water is sprayed towards anti-government protesters during a demonstration
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Police applied water cannon in an try to break up the demonstration

Some of them tore down and burned indicators congratulating China’s Communist Celebration ahead of the anniversary, even though other folks sprayed graffiti and smashed windows.

The protests had been sparked in June by a planned law, now ditched, that would have permitted the extradition of suspected criminals to mainland China.

On the other hand, they have because expanded into wider demands for democracy, with a lot of angry about what they see as creeping Chinese interference in the former British colony.

Anti-government protesters set up a barricade
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The lengthy-operating protests have expanded into wider demands for democracy

Hong Kong returned to China’s handle in 1997 beneath the so-referred to as “1 nation, two systems” policy, which assured freedoms that are not enjoyed on the mainland.

Beijing has rejected claims of growing interference in Hong Kong and has accused foreign governments, such as the US and Britain, of fanning anti-China sentiment.

Hong Kong’s government has currently scaled down National Day celebrations in the city, cancelling an annual fireworks show and moving a reception indoors.

In current weeks, gangs of of pro-Beijing supporters have staged counter-protests, major to rights among the opposing camps.

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