HONG KONG — Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday, clashing with the police in a protest against an impending decision by China’s Parliament aimed at eradicating a nascent independence movement in the territory.
In a scene that resembled the enormous pro-democracy demonstrations of 2014, the police used pepper spray to push back hundreds of protesters gathering after nightfall around the Chinese government’s liaison office in the city.
Protesters defended themselves with umbrellas, many of them yellow — the symbol of the 2014 Umbrella Movement — and set up barricades across a major street.
Sunday’s march occurred before a decision expected on Monday by the National People’s Congress in China that is intended to ensure that two young people elected in September to Hong Kong’s 70-seat legislature never formally take office.
The two, Yau Wai-ching, 25, and Sixtus Leung, 30, support independence for Hong Kong. Both inserted what many consider to be a derogatory term for China into their oaths of office last month, and both were told that they must retake their oaths.
The real concern over this move by the government of China is the violation of what is called principle of “one country, two systems”. This allows Hong Kong to maintain special privileges that could be impeded upon in this case.