Hong Kong extradition: Police fire rubber bullets at protesters

Police have fired rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters in Hong Kong where anger at a new extradition bill has spilled over into violence.

Protesters blocked key roads around government buildings and threw bricks and projectiles at police.

The government is still backing the bill, which would allow extradition to mainland China and it is expected to pass its final vote on 20 June.

But the Legislative Council (LegCo) has now delayed its second reading.

Protests had been largely peaceful as thousands of people took to the streets and attempted to block access to government buildings ahead of the scheduled debate of the bill.

But on Wednesday the demonstrations escalated, with tear gas, rubber bullets and beanbag rounds being fired by police as activists tried to storm government buildings.

Police formed a barricade with plastic shields and waved a banner saying “Warning, tear gas” in an attempt to keep protesters away.

But protesters seemed undeterred, throwing traffic cones and other random objects they can get their hands on.

China has expressed “firm support” for the extradition bill. But a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman has described reports that security forces from the mainland could be sent to Hong Kong as “fake news”.

Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing that such reports were “rumours to fool people so as to create panic”.

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