Red alert issued as protesters occupy Hong Kong's Legislative Council building

The Hong Kong police said that the building was 'violently attacked'.

Emily Lo | Sulaiman Daud | July 01, 2019, 11:51 PM

July 1 saw the protests in Hong Kong reach new heights of tension after hundreds of protesters entered the Legislative Council (LegCo) building in the evening.

The charged scenes were in stark contrast from those from the largely peaceful July 1 march, which saw a turnout of about 550,000, according to Hong Kong News.

Organisers said they re-routed the march to avoid the government complex near Admiralty, where other crowds were facing off with the police.

The date of the protest was significant as it marked the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China.

Breaching the gate

Riot police had surrounded the LegCo building, but that did not appear to deter protesters.

Clashes broke out between the two sides, with the police using pepper spray and the protesters using a metal cart and steel poles to break through a glass panel, according to the Straits Times.

Protesters then entered the LegCo building after "breaching a gate", according to the Hong Kong Free Press.

They then entered the main debate chamber, chanting slogans and hoisting signs.

They also spray-painted several messages on the wooden wall, including:

  • Retract
  • Release the protester arrested earlier
  • Carrie Lam resign
  • Cancel functional constituency
  • Sunflower Hong Kong

Another video showed a protester tearing up a copy of Hong Kong's Basic Law at the LegCo President's seat, with the British colonial flag of Hong Kong draped over the desk.

Services suspended indefinitely

At around 6:30 pm, the LegCo Secretariat issued a "Red alert", urging everyone in the building to leave immediately.

Another update, issued at around 10:30 pm, announced that all public services and guided tours in the building would be suspended indefinitely.

Hong Kong police: LegCo Building "violently attacked"

On July night, the Hong Kong police declared that the building was "violently attacked" and "severely condemned" the breach in a public statement on Twitter.

The police said that it would "conduct sweeping in a short period of time and will take reasonable force".

The police also appealed to unrelated protestors to leave the vicinity.

Violence denounced by legislators

Hong Kong News reported that 42 members of the LegCo, who it described as being "pro-Beijing", gave a public statement in which they denounced the "extremely radical" violence.

They also expressed support for the police officers for their "professionalism" in sticking to their posts and for safeguarding public order.

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Top image via @phoebe_kongwy on Twitter.