7 Aug 2019

Hong Kong mass protests explained

From First Up, 5:10 am on 7 August 2019

Mass protests have taken place for nine consecutive weeks in Hong Kong.

Watch: Video journalist Dom Thomas explains how it reached this point

Initially the protests, which started on 9 June, were against a proposed law allowing people to be extradited to mainland China, but they've since become about Beijing's authority over the region.

With millions of people taking to the streets, the protests have at times shut government offices, blocked roads and disrupted business, posing the greatest political challenge to the former British colony since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

Over the last few days the action has ramped up with a call for a general strike causing widespread disruption. More than 200 flights had to be cancelled. 

Police arrested 44 people after sometimes violent clashes overnight on Monday, with police firing tear gas to disperse demonstrators. 

In the latest development, China issued a strong warning to Hong Kong's protesters, saying their attempts "to play with fire will only backfire".

Support for the protests have also spread to New Zealand, with hundreds of protesters showing up at Auckland University, some of whom said they had received death threats