The Latest: HK protest organizer attacked with hammers

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HONG KONG (AP) — The Latest on Hong Kong's protests (all times local):


10:05 p.m.

Organizers of some of the giant demonstrations that have shaken Hong Kong say one of their leading activists has been attacked by assailants with hammers, leaving him bloody but conscious.

The Civil Human Rights Front says on its Facebook page that Jimmy Sham was on his way to a meeting when the four or five armed attackers pounced on him in Kowloon.

It suggested the attack was politically motivated, linked to "a spreading political terror in order to threaten and inhibit the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights."

Sham has been one of the public faces of the anti-government protest movement now in its fifth month.


12:45 p.m.

China says it will take countermeasures after the U.S. House of Representatives passed three bills showing support for protesters in Hong Kong.

China's foreign ministry said Wednesday in a statement posted to its website that the issues facing Hong Kong right now are not "so-called human rights and democracy," but rather violence.

China said the House "ignores the facts, inverts black and white" and applies double standards to crimes like arson and vandalizing shops in the name of human rights and democracy.

If the bill is passed, China says, it will not only damage Sino-U.S. relations, but also harm U.S. interests in Hong Kong.

The semi-autonomous Chinese city has been rocked by anti-government demonstrations for four months.


12:30 p.m.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam is delivering her annual policy speech by video link after lawmakers prevented her from doing so in the Legislative Council.

In the speech, Lam is saying that Hong Kong is going through "major crisis" and that "people are asking: Will Hong Kong return to normal?"

She says businesses are deeply worried with anti-government protests now in their fifth month.

She was earlier stopped twice from delivering her speech in the chamber where pro-democracy lawmakers are urging her to step down.


11:55 a.m.

Having twice prevented Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam from delivering her annual policy speech, pro-democracy lawmakers are urging her to step down.

At an impromptu news conference outside the Legislative Council chamber, the lawmakers played a recording on a small loudspeaker that they said was the sound of police tear-gassing protesters and of protesters screaming.

Lawmaker Tanya Chan says, "Please, please, please Mrs. Carrie Lam, don't let us suffer any more."

Lam twice walked out of the chamber after protesting lawmakers thwarted her efforts to lay out her policy objectives in the speech.

Hong Kong is the grip of monthslong pro-democracy protests calling for universal suffrage, an independent inquiry of police use of force and other demands.


11:40 a.m.

Shouting furiously, pro-democracy lawmakers have foiled a second attempt by Hong Kong's leader to deliver her annual policy speech.

In chaotic scenes in the Legislative Council, Chief Executive Carrie Lam walked out after lawmakers interrupted her the first time.

After a delay of a few minutes, she then walked back in and tried again, but was again forced to stop as lawmakers again yelled and chanted.

When the chairman suspended the session, Lam walked out again. One lawmaker tossed a placard as Lam was leaving.

Hong Kong is the grip of monthslong pro-democracy protests calling for universal suffrage, an independent inquiry of police use of force and other demands.


11:20 a.m.

Chanting pro-democracy lawmakers have interrupted the start of a speech that Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam was giving laying out her policies.

Lawmakers were waiting for Lam outside the chamber of the Legislative Council and followed her inside.

She had already started delivering her annual policy address when the protest interrupted her.

Lawmakers held up a photo of Lam waving with her hands colored blood-red.


10:45 a.m.

Hong Kong's government says the U.S. Congress shouldn't interfere in the territory's affairs, after the House passed three bills showing U.S. support for pro-democracy protesters.

A government statement Wednesday defending Hong Kong's political system came before the territory's leader, Carrie Lam, was to deliver an annual address laying out her policies.

She wasn't, however, expected to yield to key demands of protesters who've been demonstrating since June.

The House approved the bills Tuesday with separate voice votes. One condemns China's intrusions into Hong Kong's affairs. Another requires annual reviews by the U.S. secretary of state of Hong Kong's special economic and trade status. The third would ensure U.S. weapons aren't used against protesters.

The response from Hong Kong's government said, "foreign legislatures should not interfere in any form."

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