Fresh protests in Hong Kong Photograph:( AFP )
Chants of "Hong Kong independence, the only way out," and other slogans echoed through the streets. Police declared the protest illegal and ordered people to disperse before firing tear gas at them.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday in defiance of China's controversial national security law. Beijing is set to impose the new law on Hong Kong in the aftermath of last year's violent anti-China unrest that plunged the city into its deepest turmoil since returning to Chinese rule in 1997.
The move is being seen as a turning point, as it would allow China to garner greater control and a sense of security over Hong Kong.
The protest march had not received official authorisation, and went against coronavirus social distancing guidelines. Chants of "Hong Kong independence, the only way out," and other slogans echoed through the streets. Police declared the protest illegal and ordered people to disperse before firing tear gas at them.
Sporadic standoffs also broke out between police and demonstrators in the bar and nightlife district of Wan Chai near the heart of the business district.
Protestors set up road blocks and hurled umbrellas, water bottles and other objects, police said, adding they made more than 120 arrests.
The new security law has drawn a rebuke from foreign governments, human rights groups and some business lobbies.
China, however, has dismissed foreign complaints as "meddling," and said the proposed laws will not harm Hong Kong's autonomy or investors.
China's annual session of parliament is deliberating on the plan, announced on Thursday, before it is grafted into Hong Kong's mini-constitution.