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Hong Kong Police Arrest Hundreds in Anti-Government Protest


Police officers hold pepper spray cans against protesters as they try to break through a police cordon to carry out a sit-in protest in the Hong Kong's central business district, July 1, 2011.

Police officers hold pepper spray cans against protesters as they try to break through a police cordon to carry out a sit-in protest in the Hong Kong's central business district, July 1, 2011.

Hong Kong police say they arrested more than 200 people during an anti-government demonstration Friday.

Television reports showed police using pepper spray to disperse protesters, who were paralyzing traffic. Authorities said Saturday that they arrested 228 people on charges of illegal assembly and obstruction of public places.

The demonstration on Friday, the 14th anniversary of the British handover of the territory to China, was organized to pressure the government into postponing or withdrawing a controversial bill to scrap Legislative Council by-elections.

The Hong Kong government wants to fill vacant seats based on previous election results.

Organizers say 218,000 people turned out for the protest, but police put the figure at 54,000.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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