Protesters in Hong Kong bash Legislative Council on anniversary of return to China

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Protesters in Hong Kong bash Legislative Council on anniversary of return to China originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

A demonstration in Hong Kong turned combative on Monday when a group of pro-autonomy protesters, surrounded by thousands of others, began ramming and bashing the Legislative Council building, marring an otherwise peaceful pro-democracy march.

On the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China from the British, a handful of protesters slammed a cargo cart into glass panels until police snatched it away, according to The Associated Press.

PHOTO: A protester tries to break the glass to get into the Legislative Council in Hong Kong Monday, July 1, 2019. (Jeff Cheng/HK01 via AP)

PHOTO: A protester tries to break the glass to get into the Legislative Council in Hong Kong Monday, July 1, 2019. (Jeff Cheng/HK01 via AP)

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PHOTO: Protesters are seen inside a chamber after they broke into the Legislative Council building during the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China in Hong Kong, July 1, 2019. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

PHOTO: Protesters are seen inside a chamber after they broke into the Legislative Council building during the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China in Hong Kong, July 1, 2019. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

PHOTO: Protesters are seen inside a chamber after they broke into the Legislative Council building during the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China in Hong Kong, July 1, 2019. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

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The protesters managed to take over a legislative chamber as police backed off, possibly to avoid any violence, the AP reported. The protesters have spray painted slogans on wall and taken down portraits of leaders inside the chamber, while tens of thousands continue marching outside in the city.

(MORE: Historic protests take over the streets of Hong Kong: Reporter's Notebook )

The protesters have a permit, but it expires at midnight local time. Police put up a post on Facebook that indicates they may take action against those demonstrating after midnight.

PHOTO: Protesters break into the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019. (Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images)

PHOTO: Protesters break into the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019. (Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images)

PHOTO: Protesters break into the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019. (Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images)

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PHOTO: Protesters gather at the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019. (Vivek Prakash/AFP/Getty Images)

PHOTO: Protesters gather at the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019. (Vivek Prakash/AFP/Getty Images)

PHOTO: Protesters gather at the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019. (Vivek Prakash/AFP/Getty Images)

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Police also posted a sign that warned protesters to stop charging or they would use force, according to the AP. The protesters who attacked the building and the remaining thousands who kept marching both oppose an attempt to change a law that would allow for extraditions to nations including China.

(MORE: What you need to know about the anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China)

Tension rose shortly after sunrise as hundreds of masked and helmeted protesters tried to disrupt the annual flag-raising ceremony that commemorates the handover. They clashed with police, who had set up an unprecedented security cordon around the Hong Kong Convention Center, at which embattled Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam presided over a televised toast.

In her first public appearance since her apology to Hong Kong's people, Lam shared an ill-timed split-screen moment with the gathered protesters as she tried to plead for a reset with the angry city she governs.

PHOTO: Protesters storm into the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019. (Vivek Prakash/AFP/Getty Images)

PHOTO: Protesters storm into the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019. (Vivek Prakash/AFP/Getty Images)

PHOTO: Protesters storm into the government headquarters in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019. (Vivek Prakash/AFP/Getty Images)

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PHOTO: A person sprays paint over Hong Kong's coats of arms inside a chamber after protesters broke into the Legislative Council building during the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China in Hong Kong, July 1, 2019. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

PHOTO: A person sprays paint over Hong Kong's coats of arms inside a chamber after protesters broke into the Legislative Council building during the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China in Hong Kong, July 1, 2019. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

PHOTO: A person sprays paint over Hong Kong's coats of arms inside a chamber after protesters broke into the Legislative Council building during the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China in Hong Kong, July 1, 2019. (Tyrone Siu/Reuters)

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Story continues

Lam previously had vowed to be more responsive to public sentiment after facing withering criticism in recent weeks.

"This has made me fully realize that I, as a politician, have to remind myself all the time of the need to grasp public sentiments accurately," she said in a speech at the city's cavernous convention center, insisting her government meant well. "I will learn the lesson and ensure that the government's future work will be closer and more responsive to the aspirations, sentiments and opinions of the community."

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