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Hong Kong police use tear gas, rubber bullets as protesters target Chinese govt office (VIDEO)

Tens of thousands of people have once again taken to the streets of Hong Kong to protest against an unpopular extradition bill. A Chinese government office has been targeted in the rallies that ended in clashes with police.

About 400,000 people turned out for yet another protest in Hong Kong, according to the organizers’ estimate, while police put the number at 138,000. The people continue to voice their anger over the controversial bill that envisages sending criminal suspects to the mainland China, as well as against the heavy-handed police response to the previous rallies.

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Crowds of people marched through the center of the city while chanting slogans critical of the police and the local government. Thousands of the protesters defied the designated march route and surrounded the Chinese government liaison office.

The demonstrators spray-painted over the lenses of security cameras at the office, wrote graffiti on its walls and defaced the lettering on the building’s gate. Some people also burned piles of garbage on the streets outside. Initial police response prompted the protesters to retreat to the city’s financial district, where clashes erupted.

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The situation escalated as masked protesters threw stones and police responded with tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

A video taken at the scene by the Ruptly video agency shows at least one person being taken away by the medics on a stretcher. No casualties have been officially reported, however.

Separately, a group of masked men attacked the protesters in one of the city’s suburbs hours after the end of the march in central Hong Kong. The city authorities have condemned this attack along with the violence during the demonstration, calling both “absolutely unacceptable.”

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Hong Kong has been gripped by protests over the extradition bill for weeks even though the controversial legislation was suspended back in mid-June. Initially peaceful rallies quickly spiraled into violence and saw multiple fierce clashes between police and demonstrators, whom the city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor described as “rioters.”

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