Tensions Flare As Hundreds Gather At Australian Rallies For Hong Kong
A pro-Hong Kong rally has descended into violent scuffles as protesters clashed with pro-China demonstrators in Melbourne's CBD.
Hundreds gathered in the city centre on Friday night for a planned pro-Hong Kong rally.
But soon after the event kicked off, tensions began flaring as pro-Hong Kong and pro-China demonstrators clashed.
Videos posted to social media showed rival activists jostling and yelling as huge crowds gathered at the demonstration.
Police who were at the protest formed a line separating the two groups but it wasn't enough to stop the clahes.
A spokesperson for Victoria Police told 10 daily two people at the rally had been spoken to by officers for unlawful assault.
Meanwhile, hundreds also gathered in Sydney's Martin Place on Friday night, where the planned rally appeared to be much calmer.
NSW police told 10 daily they weren't aware of any incidents at the pro-Hong Kong rally.
Photos from Sydney's CBD showed hundreds crowding into Martin Place, with many of the protesters holding 'Free Hong Kong' signs.
In Adelaide, police were also forced to step in when pro-Hong Kong and pro-China groups also clashed during a protest outside the University of South Australia earlier in the day.
The rallies held in Australian cities follow months of demonstrations in Hong Kong which have become increasingly violent.
Protests started almost three months ago over a proposed extradition bill which would have seen people extradited to the mainland for trial in communist-party-controlled courts.
The bill was suspended shortly after protests first began, however, demonstrations have continued with many pro-democracy protesters now calling on their leader to step down.
Protests in Hong Kong are expected to intensify again over the weekend, but there are increasing fears China will crackdown on the rallies, with a build-up of Chinese troops and tanks seen near Hong Kong all week.