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Hong Kong protests spread as China prepares to mark 70 years of communist rule

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By Daniel Bellamy  with Reuters
Hong Kong protests spread as China prepares to mark 70 years of communist rule

Police in Hong Kong on Sunday fired round after round of tear gas at petrol-bomb throwing protesters in clashes which spread across the main island.

It is the 17th weekend of protest against the Chinese government and it comes only two days before China celebrates seventy years of communism.

Protesters, many of them wearing their trademark black clothes and face masks, took cover from the tear gas behind umbrellas and held their ground, some throwing tear gas canisters back at police.

Meanwhile about two hundred supporters of communist rule in China gathered near Victoria Harbour and sang the national anthem.

Earlier, protesters had thrown petrol bombs and rocks, breaking government office windows and blocking a key road near the local headquarters of China’s People’s Liberation Army. The police had responded with water canon and tear gas.

More protests are planned before Tuesday when China will mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.

The government has announced that Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam will be out of town on the day, possibly to remove a potential flashpoint for more unrest.

The protests were sparked in June by planned legislation, since withdrawn, that would have allowed the extradition of suspected criminals to mainland China. But they have since expanded into a broader pro-democracy movement.