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Police fire tear gas at anti-government protesters in Hong Kong

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Police fire tear gas at anti-government protesters in Hong Kong
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REUTERS/Thomas Peter
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Pro-democracy protests have entered their ninth consecutive week in Hong Kong with anti-government demonstrations taking place across the city, including one at the international airport for a second day.

Increasingly violent protests have plunged Hong Kong into its most serious political crisis for decades, posing a serious challenge to the central government in Beijing.

On Saturday morning, hundreds of activists occupied the arrivals hall, some of them sitting on the floor drawing protest posters, while others politely greeted arriving passengers.

Later on, about a thousand protesters also gathered later in the day in Tai Po, a town in the north of the territory.

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam said on Friday the economy was being undermined by the protests, which began in June.

China, meanwhile, demanded that the city's flag carrier Cathay Pacific Airways suspend staff involved in the demonstrations. One of its pilots was arrested last week.

The protests began after Hong Kong's government tried introducing an extradition bill that would have allowed defendants to be sent to mainland China for trial.

The bill has been suspended, but protesters have stepped up their demands and are now calling for greater democracy and Lam's resignation.

The protests have been condemned by the central government in Beijing. China has also accused foreign powers of fuelling the unrest.