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Hong Kong extradition protests ‘turn nasty’ as police fire rubber bullets and tear gas

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Police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters in Hong Kong, as tens of thousands of people turned out to protest a proposed extradition law.

The protesters surrounded the government Legislative Council building, forcing a delay in the debate on the bill.

Protesters fear the bill will allow people to be extradited from Hong Kong to mainland China, undermining the ‘one country, two systems’ arrangement which Hong Kong has operated under since it rejoined China in 1997.

Proponents of the extradition law say it is needed to prevent Hong Kong from becoming a refuge for fugitives.

Man-Kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International in Hong Kong, said police ramped up their response to protesters on Wednesday afternoon.

“Things turned very ugly and nasty when the police force fired pepper spray, tear gas and guns with rubber bullets at the peaceful crowd, dispersing them and creating a lot of chaos and injuries,” he told 3AW’s Neil Mitchell.

Mr Tam said the violent response is against international law and protests will escalate as a result.

“The use of firearms, such as guns with rubber bullets and bean bags, against peaceful protesters actually violates international law,” he said.

“It will only create more violence.”

Protesters have largely dispersed since the police response.

Mr Tam said he “doesn’t know” if there will be more violence.

Press PLAY below to hear Man-Kei Tam on 3AW Mornings.