Hong Kong police have opened fire with pepper pellets to disperse protests against China’s controversial new National Anthem Bill.

Dozens of riot police descended on the Central Government Complex in the heart of Hong Kong’s global financial centre to disperse crowds that had gathered to protest against what they see as threats to their freedom.

Tensions soared as police swarmed on the Legislative Council where protesters are calling for action against a bill to criminalise disrespect of the Chinese anthem.

If passed into law, the bill would make it a criminal offence to “disrespect” the anthem of the People’s Republic of China. The bill, which gets its second reading on Wednesday, would also require the anthem to be taught in schools and be sunny by organisations.

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