Hundreds of pro-democracy protesters gathered outside the building chanting “we will not surrender” as they called on Britain to take action in its former colony which it handed back to Chinese control in 1997. Demonstrators waved the Union Jack and sang God Save the Queen. Some chanted “
Stand for freedom, stand with Hong Kong”. Other waved placards saying: “SOS Hong Kong” and “Act Now Save Your People”.
The Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed in 1984, lays out Hong Kong’s future after its return to China in 1997, a “one country, two systems” formula that ensures freedoms not enjoyed on the mainland.
China says it is committed to the arrangement, denies meddling and says the city is an internal issue.
Beijing has accused foreign powers, particularly Britain and the US of stirring up unrest and has essentially told them to mind their own business.
Britain says it has a legal responsibility to ensure China abides by the 1984 declaration.
Back in June a Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “The Joint Declaration is a legally binding treaty between the UK and China that remains as valid today as it was when it was signed and ratified over 30 years ago.
“As a co-signatory, the UK government will continue to defend our position.”
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The peaceful gathering at the British Consulate was in contrast to violent scenes which erupted later in the day when police fired water cannon and volleys of tear gas to disperse protestors throwing petrol bombs at government buildings.
Some activists threw bricks at police outside the Chinese People’s Liberation Army base in the city’s Admiralty district, and tore down and set fire to a red banner proclaiming the 70th anniversary on October 1 of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
A water cannon burst into flames after being hit by a Molotov cocktail hurled from the crowd.
A heavy police presence could be seen in and around subway stations.
Rail operator MTR Corp has become a prime target of vandalism, with activists angry that it closes stations during protests and prevents demonstrators from gathering.
Shops in key protest areas once again closed early as more than three months of demonstrations continued to take a toll on business.