HONG KONG — Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets over the weekend to continue protesting a widely unpopular bill that would allow suspects to be extradited for trial to mainland China.
Opponents of the bill believe that Beijing may use it to extradite political activists, dissidents and other opponents in the city.
The Hong Kong government suspended the extradition bill last month in the face of massive protests but has yet to officially withdraw it.
The anti-government and pro-democracy protests have been going on for eight consecutive weekends.
On Sunday, demonstrators in Hong Kong defied police orders, with one group of protesters marching towards the Causeway Bay shopping area, while the other made their way to China's Liaison Office through the territory's central business district.
The activists who made their way to the heavily fortified Chinese office were blocked from entering by riot police, while a clear plastic shield was added to protect a national emblem that had been defaced by protesters on July 1, Reuters reports.
As the crowds grew larger, police began firing rounds of tear gas, rubber bullets and sponge grenades, resulting in a cloud of burning smoke.
Protesters across the city set up barricades and chanted slogans such as "free Hong Kong" and "reclaim Hong Kong," according to the BBC.
The activists have called for greater democracy and for Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam to resign, CNN reports.
They are also pushing for an investigation into alleged police brutality.
China's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office was to hold a press conference later today to "give its stance and views on Hong Kong's current situation," an announcement for the briefing stated.
According to the South China Morning Post, this is the first time the administrative agency has held a briefing on Hong Kong since the city was handed over to China in 1997.