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Waving Union Jacks and singing “God Save the Queen” hundreds of Hong Kong activists flocked to the UK Consulate in Hong Kong on Sunday.

This was their bid to convince the UK to step in and protect them from China like it would have in the colonial era.

The activists gathered in front of the British Consulate-General claim the Chinese government is encroaching on their freedoms.

Calling on the former sovereign to do something about it, they waved the UK flags and those of colonial Hong Kong. The activists sang patriotic British songs, including “God Save the Queen” and “Land of Hope and Glory”. They also chanted, “We will not surrender”.

Britain had control over Hong Kong for decades after taking it from imperial China – a result of the Opium Wars, which reduced what was an economic powerhouse to destitution.

The activists are hoping that Her Majesty would support them including granting UK citizenship and the British National (Overseas) passport.

The British National (Overseas) passport is a special type of document that was granted to hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents. It allows visa-free travel to the UK, but only for six months, and does not include work privileges.

Some of the activists pledged allegiance to the UK, chanting: “We are British and we will never surrender” and “Rule, Britannia”.

The activists also marched waving the U.S. flags, singing the U.S. national anthem, and holding up meme-like photos of a rifle-toting Donald Trump standing on top of a “Trump” tank, urging him to “liberate Hong Kong.”

China accuses the U.S. and UK of spurring the demonstrations leading to violence, destruction of public properties, and the activists’ gestures of loyalty to these two countries.

Pro-China figures in Hong Kong have accused foreign powers including the U.S. and the UK of secretly funding and organizing the rallies.

On Saturday, Joshua Wong, the democracy activist and former student leader of the 2014 umbrella movement in Hong Kong, called on U.S. officials to include Hong Kong and a human rights clause in ongoing negotiations as the U.S. and China try to resolve a long-running trade war and for lawmakers to pass legislation that could sanction Hong Kong officials.

A Reuters report – “Hong Kong reopens after violent weekend of clashes and protests” – said: “Hong Kong’s businesses and underground rail stations re-opened as usual on Monday morning, after a chaotic Sunday.”

During Sunday’s demonstration police had to fire water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets at the activists who blocked roads and threw petrol bombs outside government headquarters.

The activists, many clad in black masks, caps and shades to hide their identity, raced through the streets, engaged in cat-and-mouse tactics with police, setting street fires and blocking roads in the heart of Hong Kong where many key business districts are located.

Authorities moved quickly to douse the fires and police fired volleys of tear gas to disperse them.

The Hong Kong government issued a late night statement “severely condemning the violent acts which totally disregard law and order.”

Police issued a statement early on Monday expressing “severe condemnation” after what began as a mostly peaceful protest had spiraled into violence in some of the Chinese territory’s key business, shopping and tourist districts.

The statement said: Around 20 “radical protesters” had attacked two police officers on Sunday evening, hurling petrol bombs, bricks, and threatening the safety of the officers.

In the statement, the police said they deployed teargas, rubber bullets, sponge rounds and “crowd management vehicles” on demonstrators participating in an “unauthorized assembly”.

It also said two police officers withdrew pistols at one point when they were attacked by around 20 protesters who hurled petrol bombs at them.

Other media reports said:

The activists who splintered off from the march surrounded the government complex, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails, prompting riot police to respond with multiple rounds of teargas as well as water cannon that covered the activists in blue dye, meant to help identify protesters for arrest later.

Skirmishes broke out in various locations across Hong Kong as protesters scattered after the police dispersal.

In the residential area of Fortress Hill, men in white T-shirts beat people with rods and stools.

Fights also broke out in the nearby neighborhood of North Point, a pro-government district.

Sunday’s clashes came after ugly scenes of brawls between anti-government activists and pro-Beijing people on Saturday.

The activists, many of them young students, have also become more violent. On Sunday, they set fires outside a metro station and smashed glass windows and display cases inside the stations.

Video footage posted online showed what appeared to be a group of black-clad demonstrators mobbing a man. In another, a group was seen beating up a young man.

“If we fail this time, we will not have a second chance. Our civil society will be repressed by the Chinese Communist party. So we have to keep going,” said Gerald Chan, 24, a master’s student who was wearing reflective goggles and held a shield improvised from street signs.


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