Photographers take cover as police fire water cannon on protestors in Hong Kong, Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. A pro-democracy rally in downtown Hong Kong has ended early amid sporadic violence, with police firing tear gas and a water cannon after protesters threw bricks and Molotov cocktails at government offices. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Pro-China supporters in Hong Kong rally ahead of anniversary

September 28, 2019 - 9:06 pm

HONG KONG (AP) — Hundreds of pro-Beijing supporters in Hong Kong sang the Chinese national anthem and waved red flags ahead of China's National Day to counter pro-democracy protests viewed as a challenge to Beijing's rule.

Sunday's show of support for Beijing comes a day after fresh violence in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, with police firing tear gas and water cannons after protesters threw bricks and firebombs at government buildings following a massive rally.

The protests began in June over a now-shelved extradition bill but have snowballed into demands for democratic reforms.

Organizer Innes Tang says Sunday's event is aimed at backing Chinese sovereignty and calling for peaceful celebrations amid plans for a major protest march that could mar Tuesday's festivities for the 70th anniversary of the Communist Party taking power.