'Hong Kong authorities postponed the second reading of a controversial bill allowing extradition to mainland China on Wednesday as tens of thousands of protesters blockaded government headquarters.
In scenes reminiscent of the Umbrella Movement that brought the city to a standstill in 2014, thousands of demonstrators stormed a key road next to Hong Kong's government offices to protest against the proposed legislation.
The protesters gathered in and around Lung Wo Road, an important east-west artery near the offices of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, as hundreds of riot police warned them to stop advancing.
Five years after pro-democracy protesters rocked the city, protesters once again erected barricades to block traffic in the heart of the Asian financial centre, with many defying police calls to retreat.
Police used pepper spray on protesters - many wearing face masks, helmets or goggles - at the legislative council building and held up signs warning demonstrators they were prepared to use force if the crowds didn't stop charging.
Ms Lam said she would press ahead with the controversial legislation, which would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial, despite deep concerns across the Asian financial hub that triggered on Sunday its biggest political demonstration since its handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
Demonstrators from across a wide spectrum of Hong Kong society began joining the overnight protesters earlier on Wednesday as businesses across the city prepared to go on strike.
The bill, which has generated unusually broad opposition at home and abroad, had been scheduled for a second round of debate on Wednesday in Hong Kong's 70-seat Legislative Council.
But, with crowds continuing to swell, officials in the Legislative Council (Legco) said they would delay the second reading of the bill "to a later date".
"We won't leave till they scrap the law," said one young man wearing a black mask and gloves.'
Read more: Hong Kong postpones extradition bill reading as protesters blockade government headquarters
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