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Hong Kong protesters, subdued for months by the virus, are back on the streets.

Hong Kong protesters, subdued for months by the virus, are back on the streets.
Antigovernment protesters marched in Hong Kong on Sunday despite social-distancing rules.

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The antigovernment movement that roiled Hong Kong for much of last year subsided this year as fears of the coronavirus kept many at home. But on Sunday, police officers fired tear gas as hundreds of protesters flouted social-distancing rules to demonstrate against China’s plans to impose national security laws on the semiautonomous territory.
Protesters gathered in a central shopping district around midday, chanting slogans against the government and the Chinese Communist Party like “Heavens will destroy the C.C.P.” and “Hong Kong independence is the only way out.”

Dozens of police officers in riot gear swarmed the area, but many protesters pressed around them, ignoring their warnings to disperse. Just before 1:30 p.m., the police fired at least four rounds of tear gas, sending protesters scrambling. The Hong Kong police said in a statement that they arrested 120 people, most on charges of unlawful assembly.
The protest was the biggest the territory had seen in several months. The Hong Kong government has banned public gatherings of more than eight people until at least June 4, and attempts since January to revive the protests were sparsely attended and quickly stifled by the police.
Many Hong Kong residents see China’s move to impose the security laws as a major blow to the city’s relative autonomy, perhaps an irreparable one.
In Beijing on Sunday, the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, asserted that the protests that had roiled Hong Kong posed a grave threat to national security, proving that such legislation was long overdue. “We must get it done without the slightest delay,” Mr. Wang said at a news briefing.

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