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Thousands back on Hong Kong streets to keep up pressure

Protests' focus veers from extradition bill to broader issues increasing tension between HK people and mainland Chinese

Protesters march through the Sha Tin district in Hong Kong [Kin Cheung/AP]

Tens of thousands of people have again rallied in Hong Kong, in their latest effort to grow their protest movement against what they see as mainland China's growing influence on the semiautonomous territory.

Demonstrators on Sunday marched in Sha Tin, a suburban area near the border that is popular with mainland Chinese shoppers, as the rallies move outwards from the heart of the financial centre into surrounding neighbourhoods.

Al Jazeera's Jamela Alindogan, reporting from the march, said the large crowd of protesters included families "in droves".

"[They are] speaking out against what they call creeping authoritarianism, threats to the way of life in Hong Kong."

There were clashes between police and some protesters, with riot police using pepper spray and batons against small crowds who took over a road on the sidelines of the rally. Masked protesters responded by building barricades from metal fencing and a standoff with riot police ensued.

Most of the demonstrators dispersed shortly afterward as a small group sang the Christian hymn "Sing Hallelujah to the Lord", which has emerged as the unlikely anthem of the protests.

Hong Kong has been hit by a wave of popular protests since early June following widespread anger over a controversial piece of legislation that would have allowed extraditions to the mainland. Although the Hong Kong government later suspended the bill, it has refused to officially retract it.

Opponents insist they will settle for nothing short of its formal withdrawal and have called for the resignation of Carrie Lam, the territory's chief executive. Others have also staged protests over other grievances, including what they see as moves by the pro-Beijing government to erode Hong Kong's freedoms and autonomy.

The youth-led protests have fuelled the former British colony's biggest political crisis since China regained control of Hong Kong in 1997, and pose a direct challenge to authorities in Beijing. Read more...

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