A group of protesters smashed out the bottom of a floor-to-ceiling window at Hong Kong’s legislature Monday as a crowd of thousands marched through the city demanding democracy on the 22nd anniversary of the former British colony’s return to China. The protesters repeatedly rammed a cargo cart and large poles into the glass panel. After the cart got wedged into the damaged window pane, police inside grabbed it and repelled the protesters with pepper spray. Officers lined up with riot shields on the other side of the broken window to prevent anyone from entering. The clash prompted organizers to change the endpoint of the protest march from the legislature to a nearby park, after police asked them to either call it off or change the route. Police wanted the march to end earlier in the Wan Chai district, but organizers said that would leave out many people who planned to join the march along the way. The protesters are opposed to a government attempt to change extradition laws to allow suspects to be sent to China to face trial. The proposed legislation, on which debate has been suspended indefinitely, increased fears of eroding freedoms in the territory, which Britain returned to China on July 1, 1997. Protesters want the bills formally withdrawn and Hong Kong’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam, to resign. Lam, who has come under withering criticism for trying to push the legislation through, pledged to be more responsive to public sentiment. In an address after a flag-raising ceremony…
“We know that Carrie Lam can be so arrogant,” Sham said, rallying the crowd under a blazing sun before the start of the march at Victoria Park. “She is protected by our flawed system.”
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