(Reuters) - Global media coverage of petrol bombs, tear gas and street clashes in Hong Kong days before China wants to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China present Beijing with a major PR challenge.
Millions of anti-government protesters have taken to Hong Kong’s streets for more than three months, plunging the Chinese-ruled city into its biggest crisis in decades and posing a direct challenge to its political masters in Beijing.
Following are the key dates in Hong Kong’s protests movement and the most recent developments as reported by Reuters.
Saturday Sept. 28 - The fifth anniversary of the “Umbrella” pro-democracy protests in 2014 that occupied parts of the city for 79 days. Activists are expected to mark the anniversary with a rally.
Tuesday Oct. 1 - The 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Protesters are expected to rally in Hong Kong dressed in black, and authorities are likely to rollout a large security blanket as the Hong Kong government holds a low-key ceremony.
In Beijing, President Xi Jinping will oversee a massive military parade through central Beijing. The Communist Party will be hoping the world see images of orderly troop formations and dancing civilians, rather than protests in Hong Kong.
Sept. 22 - In the latest of months of protests, Hong Kong police fire tear gas to break up pro-democracy demonstrators who trashed fittings at a railway station and shopping mall.
Sept. 17 - Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam pledges to hold talks with the community to try to ease tensions.
Sept. 8 - Security forces fire tear gas to disperse protesters in upmarket Causeway Bay shopping district.
Sept. 7 - Police fire tear gas for a second consecutive night after fending off airport protests.
Sept. 4 - Lam announces formal withdrawal of controversial extradition bill. Critics say it is too little, too late.
Sept. 1 - Hong Kong commercial centres paralysed as protesters and police exchange petrol bombs and tear gas.
Aug. 12 - Hong Kong’s international airport grinds to a halt as protesters target terminals. China likens protests to terrorism.
Aug. 10 - Police fire volleys of tear gas to disperse protesters, sending tourists fleeing.
Aug. 2 - Thousands of civil servants join anti-government protests, defying a warning from authorities to remain politically neutral.
July 21 - Police fire rubber bullets and tear gas as demonstrations descend into chaos and protesters target Beijing’s representative office in city.
July 14 - Clashes break out as tens of thousands of protesters escalate fight in suburbs.
July 9 - Lam says extradition bill is “dead”. Critics are not convinced.
July 1 - Hong Kong protesters smash up The Hong Kong legislative building, marking a direct challenge to Beijing.
June 21 - Black-clad, anti-extradition protesters flood streets of Hong Kong.
June 15 - Bowing to pressure, Lam suspends extradition bill.
June 12 - Hong Kong police fire rubber bullets as peaceful protests turn to chaos.
June 9 - Hundreds of thousands rally in fresh wave of protests against the extradition bill.
May 11 - Scuffles break out in Hong Kong legislature between pro-democracy lawmakers and those loyal to Beijing.
April 28 - Tens of thousands take to the streets to protest against extradition bill.
April 3 - Hong Kong launches new extradition law despite opposition.
March 31 - Thousands march against proposed extradition bill, fearing an erosion of personal freedoms and the city’s status as an international business hub.
Feb. 2019 - Hong Kong government announces it is considering a bill that would allow criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China for trial in courts controlled by the Communist Party.
Compiled By Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Neil Fullick