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Hong Kong officials decry violence after protesters attack government offices

Demonstrators also blocked traffic and set fires.

An anti-government protester throws back a tear gas canister fired by the police during a demonstration near Central Government Complex in Hong Kong, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. Police fired a water cannon and tear gas at protesters who lobbed Molotov cocktails outside the Hong Kong government office complex Sunday, as violence flared anew after thousands of pro-democracy supporters marched through downtown in defiance of a police ban (Kin Cheung/AP)
An anti-government protester throws back a tear gas canister fired by the police during a demonstration near Central Government Complex in Hong Kong, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019. Police fired a water cannon and tear gas at protesters who lobbed Molotov cocktails outside the Hong Kong government office complex Sunday, as violence flared anew after thousands of pro-democracy supporters marched through downtown in defiance of a police ban (Kin Cheung/AP)

By Associated Press Reporters

Hong Kong officials have reiterated that violence is not the solution following the chaos caused by an unapproved march which saw police firing tear gas and water cannons when demonstrators lobbed Molotov cocktails at government buildings.

The government in a statement late on Sunday said the violence, which also resulted in traffic being blocked and fires set, would only harm the community.

It added that it was sincerely trying to solve problems.

Anti-government protests have taken place since June and increasingly have been marked by violence and clashes with police.

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Anti-government protesters are sprayed by a water cannon (Kin Cheung/AP)

The demonstrations were sparked by an extradition bill many Hong Kong residents see as an example of the territory’s autonomy being eroded under Chinese rule.

The protesters want their demands for greater democracy and police accountability met, and some of them defend violence as necessary since peaceful demonstrations haven’t effected change.

Violence flared anew on Sunday after thousands of pro-democracy supporters marched in defiance of a police ban.

A mixed crowd of hardcore protesters in black and wearing masks, along with families with children, spilled into the roads of the Causeway Bay shopping belt and marched for more than a mile to the central business district.

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An anti-government protester throws a Molotov cocktail during a demonstration near the Central Government Complex (Kin Cheung/AP)

Some waved US and British flags, while others carried posters reiterating their calls for democratic reforms.

Police had turned down a request by the Civil Human Rights Front to hold the march, but the demonstrators were undeterred, as they’ve been all summer.

Protester Winnie Leung, 50, said: “I feel this is our duty. The government wants to block us with the ban but I want to say that the people will not be afraid.”

The march disrupted traffic and many shops, including the Sogo department store, closed their doors.

Protesters burned Chinese flags and tore down banners congratulating China’s ruling Communist Party, which will celebrate its 70th year in power on October 1.

PA

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