Hundreds of Hong Kong protesters stormed the legislature on the anniversary of the city's 1997 return to China on Monday (July 1), destroying pictures and daubing walls with graffiti in a direct challenge to China as anger over an extradition bill spiraled out of control.
Some carried road signs, others corrugated iron sheets and pieces of scaffolding upstairs and downstairs as about a thousand gathered around the Legislative Council building in the heart of the former British colony's financial district.
Some sat at legislators' desks, checking their phones.
The government called for an immediate end to the violence, saying it had stopped all work on extradition bill amendments and that the legislation would automatically lapse in July next year.
There was no immediate response from the protesters.
Opponents of the extradition bill, which would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial in courts controlled by the Communist Party, fear it is a threat to Hong Kong's much-cherished rule of law.
Hong Kong returned to China under a "one country, two systems" formula that allows freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, including freedom to protest and an independent judiciary.
Beijing denies interfering but, for many Hong Kong residents, the extradition bill is the latest step in a relentless march towards mainland control.
China has been angered by criticism from Western capitals, including Washington and London, about the legislation. Beijing said on Monday that Britain had no responsibility for Hong Kong any more and was opposed to its "gesticulating" about the territory.
More than a million people have taken to the streets at times over the past three weeks to vent their anger.
(Production: Peter Blaza, Paul Warren, Jim Hatley)