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Hong Kong protests: Leader Carrie Lam condemns activists for "violent acts"

Riot police patrol inside the Legislative Council building.
Riot police patrol the Legislative Council building damaged by demonstrators. Photo by Anthony Kwan/Getty Images

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam said Tuesday she condemned what she called the "violent acts" of protesters who stormed and ransacked the Legislative Council the previous night, the BBC reports.

Details: There's a tense calm in the territory, after police used tear gas to evict the activists who'd occupied the building into early Tuesday, according to Reuters. Some had spray-painted slogans on the walls of the main chamber demanding the release of Hong Kongers arrested in last month's protest, as well as the resignation of Lam, per AP

The big picture: The activists had broken away from a peaceful mass protest Monday on the 22nd anniversary of the handover of the former British colony to China, the New York Times notes.

Why it matters: Hong Kong retained a high degree of autonomy when it was returned to China in 1997 — including the freedom to protest and an independent judiciary. Hong Kong residents worry that’s crumbling as the Chinese Communist Party tightens its grip, per Axios' Dave Lawler.

  • What started as a protest over a now-suspended bill that would allow extradition to mainland China has turned into a broader repudiation of Chinese rule, the New York Times notes. Protesters remain worried the extradition bill could be reintroduced.

In photos

Police stand outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 2.
Police stand outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong. Photo: Vivek Prakash/AFP/Getty Images
A policeman looks at the damage and debris after protesters stormed the government headquarters.
A police officer surveys the damage at the Legislative Council. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images
 Police fire tear gas at protesters near the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 2.
Police fire tear gas at protesters near the government HQ. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images
Police fire tear gas at protesters near the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 2, 2019.
Riot police fire tear gas as they attempt to dislodge anti-government protesters. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters gather outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong.
Activists start forcing their way into the government HQ. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters gather to take part in the annual pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong.
Protesters gather to take part in the annual pro-democracy rally, which later turned into a massive demonstration involving thousands. Photo: Sarah LAI /AFP/Getty Images
Protesters attempt to break a window at the government headquarters in Hong Kong.
Protesters attempt to break a window at the government headquarters. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images
 Protesters try to push a metal cart through a closed entrance at the government headquarters in Hong Kong.
Protesters ram a metal cart through the glass doors. Police responded with pepper spray. Photo: Vivek Prakash/AFP/Getty Images
 A protester shouts in front of police outside the government headquarters.
A protester shouts in front of police outside the government headquarters after the annual flag-raising ceremony. Photo: Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images
elicopters fly across Victoria Harbour carrying a Hong Kong (L) and China (R) flag during the annual flag raising ceremony to mark the 22nd anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China.
Helicopters fly across Victoria Harbour carrying a Hong Kong flag (L) and Chinese flag for the annual ceremony. Photo: Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images
Police officers attend a flag raising ceremony to commemorate the 22nd Anniversary of the Establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) at Golden Bauhinia Square.
Police officers attend a flag raising ceremony at Golden Bauhinia Square. Photo: Zhang Wei/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images
Police use batons on protesters during a clash near the Legislative Council Complex.
Police use batons on protesters during a clash near the Legislative Council Complex hours before protesters attacked the building. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
Hong Kong police pepper-spray protesters.
Hong Kong police pepper spray protesters outside the Legislative Council Complex hours before protesters attacked the building. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
Anti-extradition protesters push barricades toward police on a street during a stand-off outside the Legislative Council Complex.
Protesters push barricades toward police on a street during a standoff outside the Legislative Council Complex. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
Anti-extradition protesters use makeshift shield to defend themselves during a clash with police outside the Legislative Council Complex.
Protesters with makeshift shields to defend themselves against police outside the Legislative Council Complex. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (3rd L) and other guests raise a toast after watching the annual flag raising ceremony to mark the 22nd anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China.
Officials including Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (3rd L) in the Convention and Exhibition Center toast the flag-raising ceremony marking the city's handover from the U.K. to China. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

Go deeper: One Country, Two Systems: The crumbling walls between China and Hong Kong

This article has been updated with more images, new details on the clashes and comment from Lam.