Hong Kong protests: Two people in serious condition as legislature on lock down

At least two people are in serious condition in Hong Kong hospitals after a long day and night of violence between police and protesters.

An estimated 5,000 riot police fired tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets and bean bags at tens of thousands of protesters as they forcibly cleared streets around the city’s Legislative Council in Admiralty.

Confrontations went late into the night as crowds of mostly young, college-aged protesters were pushed back from the Legislative Council complex towards the city’s Central district.

At least 79 people were injured in the violence, with two remaining in serious condition, according to a spokesman for Hong Kong’s information bureau.

There was an extremely heavy police presence around the Legislative Council building and the city’s Admiralty area Thursday morning. It remained unclear whether lawmakers would attempt to restart a second reading of a hugely controversial extradition bill with China that sparked the protests, amid rumors the debate may be suspended.

Central government offices next door to the legislature were closed Thursday and Friday, according to a statement.

Although Hong Kong is part of China, it has separate laws that follow the UK system and no capital punishment, unlike mainland China. Many people fear that the proposed extradition law means they could be taken from Hong Kong by Chinese authorities for political or inadvertent business offenses.