HONG KONG — Police in Hong Kong used pepper spray and batons against anti-government protesters who had seized highways early on Monday ahead of what is expected to be a huge pro-democracy rally on the anniversary of the city's handover to China.
The international financial hub has been shaken by historic demonstrations in the past three weeks, when protesters have demanded the withdrawal of a bill that would allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland.
Tensions spiked once more in the semi-autonomous city on Monday morning after small groups of mainly young, masked protesters seized three key thoroughfares, deploying metal and plastic barriers to block the way.
Riot police with helmets and shields faced off against protesters in the Admiralty and Wanchai districts of the city.
Shortly before a flag-raising ceremony to mark the handover, police swooped on protesters who had blockaded one street. At least one woman was seen bleeding from a head wound after the clashes and police made multiple arrests. — AFP