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Hong Kong marks 22nd anniversary of handover to China with festivities and protests

Hong Kong marks 22nd anniversary of handover to China with festivities and protests

About 5,000 Hong Kong residents stood in the formation spelling out words “I LOVE HK” at Hong Kong’s Victoria Park on Monday to mark the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong handover to China and creation of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR).

Wearing red or white caps, Hong Kong citizens formed the giant words at the football field of the park, with “LOVE” showed in a red heart.

The event came as part of the three-day Greater Bay Festival ending Monday evening, which was designed to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China and the establishment of the Hong Kong SAR. The festival has attracted 180,000 visitors so far.

The 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese control was also marked by mass protests with hundreds of protesters charging Hong Kong’s Legislative Council building Monday, shattering glass doors, tearing down a metal wall that is part of its façade and flooding into the lawmakers’ chamber.

Monday’s action was fueled by outrage at Beijing’s attempts to put a new extradition law in place. Thousands of protesters, nearly all of them wearing black clothes, hit the streets for the latest in a string of huge protests.

Monday’s demonstrations effectively drowned out a celebration marking the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China. That event centered on a flag-raising ceremony — but the civic unrest forced officials to take the rare step of moving most of the celebration indoors, where leaders and VIPs watched as the flag was raised on TV.

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