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Police in Hong Kong use pepper spray to disperse protesters

The demonstrators were signing pro-democracy songs.

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Riot police enter the shopping centre (Kin Cheung/AP)

Riot police enter the shopping centre (Kin Cheung/AP)

Riot police enter the shopping centre (Kin Cheung/AP)

Hong Kong police used pepper spray to disperse over a hundred protesters in a shopping centre who were singing and chanting pro-democracy slogans.

The demonstrators sang the protest anthem Glory To Hong Kong and chanted Glory To Hong Kong, Revolution Of Our Times in the New Town Plaza centre in Hong Kong’s New Territories.

As protesters gathered in the centre, riot police stopped and searched some and later told them to leave, saying they were violating social-distancing rules.

The police then sprayed tear gas to disperse the crowd before cordoning off the atrium of the shopping centre.

The protest was one of several that went ahead on May 1, Labour Day, despite rules that forbid public gatherings of more than four people.

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Riot police disperse the protesters (Kin Cheung/AP)

Riot police disperse the protesters (Kin Cheung/AP)

AP/PA Images

Riot police disperse the protesters (Kin Cheung/AP)

Small groups of protesters also gathered near Kowloon’s Mong Kok and Kwun Tong underground stations.

Organisers initially planned citywide protests but many were cancelled, with the organisers urging people to support pro-democracy restaurants instead.

Friday’s protests were the latest in a string of demonstrations over the past week in which protesters gathered in shopping centres.

They follow the arrest of 15 pro-democracy activists and former politicians last Saturday.

The demonstrations are a continuation of a movement that began last June to protest an extradition bill that would have allowed detainees in Hong Kong to be transferred to mainland China.

Although the bill was later withdrawn, the demonstrations continued for months before a lull starting in January as the coronavirus pandemic broke out.

PA Media