Hong Kong police arrested more than 500 people on Wednesday after tens of thousands in the former British colony joined a massive march to push for democracy.
Anger at mainland China has never been greater after Beijing warned recently it holds the ultimate authority over the freewheeling capitalist enclave despite agreeing to a Basic Law that gave the city a high degree of autonomy for 50 years after British rule ended in 1997.
Police said those arrested had been unlawfully assembled and prevented police from carrying out their duties.
Police said 98,600 people joined Tuesday’s rally at its peak, while organisers said 510,000 turned out, the highest estimates in a decade. Hong Kong University researchers put the number at between 154,000 and 172,000.
The arrests came after the rally, when two student groups held a sit-in overnight to “occupy” a street in the city’s financial district, vowing to remain until 8am local time (midnight GMT).
Police moved in early on Wednesday to remove the protesters one by one.
July 1, a public holiday marking the handover of Hong Kong from London to Beijing, has become an annual day of protest.
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