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Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong clashes escalate ahead of China's big day

Taiwanese march in solidarity during weekend of protests

HONG KONG/TAIPEI -- Clashes between anti-government protesters and police in Hong Kong intensified over the weekend as Tuesday's National Day celebrations on the mainland neared.

Black-clad Hong Kongers broke through police blockades in the Causeway Bay shopping district to protest without authorization Sunday.

Train station glass was broken, and signs celebrating the People's Republic of China's founding were burned on the street. Images of Chinese President Xi Jinping were trampled on.

The unrest in Hong Kong entered a 17th week -- a crucial one for Xi, during which he will oversee events marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic.

As before, protesters' demands included universal suffrage and an independent commission on police brutality. Police responded with water cannons and tear gas and arrested demonstrators. Warning shots were fired, according to local media.

The intensifying clashes in Hong Kong appear to have struck a chord in Taiwan, where many had viewed the events in the former British colony as something apart from their lives.

In Taipei, 100,000 people showed solidarity with Hong Kong protesters Sunday, according to event organizers. The march, put together by Taiwanese and Hong Kong pro-democracy groups, drew officials from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which leans toward independence.

The crowd in Taipei mostly wore black, like the Hong Kong demonstrators. "Taiwan stands with Hong Kong!" they chanted in the rain.

The chaos in Hong Kong struck one university student who demonstrated in the Taiwanese capital.

"I felt for the first time that there would be trouble if we become unified with China," said the 21-year-old.

"I want to show China our will to defend democracy," the student said.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam will join China's founding festivities in Beijing this week. She stood firm Thursday at a town hall meeting where angry demonstrators outside kept her from leaving for hours.

Saturday saw tens of thousands take part in pro-democracy demonstrations of the kind not seen since the Umbrella Movement of 2014. Pro-democracy groups plan to demonstrate again Tuesday but cannot obtain permits.

The Hong Kong protests were sparked by proposed legislation authorizing extraditions to the mainland, but the unrest has only intensified since Lam announced the bill's withdrawal in early September.

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