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Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong police clash with protesters rallying against anthem bill

Officers arrest hundreds, while tycoons voice support for separate security law

Anti-government demonstrators in Hong Kong scuffle with riot police during a lunchtime protest against the national anthem bill.   © Reuters

HONG KONG -- Police fired pepper spray and pepper balls at protesters in Hong Kong's Central business district on Wednesday, as hundreds of people rallied against controversial legislation that would punish behavior disrespectful of China's national anthem, amid heightening concerns over diminishing freedoms in the city.

In scenes reminiscent of last year's anti-government protests, demonstrators began gathering at several locations during the lunch hour. Thousands assembled in the city's main business and commercial districts, chanting "Free Hong Kong," "Hong Kong independence, the only way out," and other slogans.

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