BREAKING: Tension Boils Over in Hong Kong; Xi Sounds Warning

BREAKING: Tension Boils Over in Hong Kong; Xi Sounds Warning
Credit: The News Lens/Edward White
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Pro-democracy activists clashed with pro-Beijing supporters in Hong Kong this morning.

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Tension boiled over in Hong Kong this morning as an attempted protest march by democracy activists was shut down after clashes with pro-Beijing groups.

Activists, including Joshua Wong and "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung (pictured above), had gathered in Wan Chai at 7 a.m. to protest during an official flag raising ceremony to mark the 20th anniversary of the handover of Hong Kong to China.

Amid a heavy police presence, the group was obstructed by dozens of rival pro-Bejing supporters. Police quickly moved to separate the groups but several people appeared to suffer minor injuries in the process. At least two men were taken to the ground by police.

The tense standoff lasted less than one hour before police vans were brought in to remove the pro-democracy activists.

Protest leaders, including Wong and Leung were taken by police. Initial reports say at least five members of Wong's political party, Demosisto, were in police custody.

China President Xi Jinping has been in Hong Kong since Thursday to mark 20 years since its return to China by Britain.

Meanwhile this morning, President Xi Jinping swore in new Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam.

Lam was selected by a pro-Beijing committee, as were her predecessors, and is already being cast by critics as a China stooge in a city where many are angry at Beijing's tightening grip on the freedoms of nearly eight million people.

She took her oath of office under China's national flag at the city's harbourfront convention center, near the protest location, before shaking hands with Xi.

Lam's inauguration comes a day after Beijing's foreign ministry declared that the document signed by Britain and China which initiated the handover "is no longer relevant."

[UPDATES TO FOLLOW]

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Additional reporting: AFP

Editor: Olivia Yang