Hong Kong pro-democracy lawmakers disrupted a Beijing official's speech Monday as he sought to explain a decision announced over the weekend to tightly limit voting reforms for the southern Chinese financial hub. The legislators chanted slogans and held up placards accusing China's central government of "breaking its promise" to let Hong Kong directly elect its leader. Some stood on chairs and pumped their fists, waving signs that said "Shameful" and "Loss of faith." The noisy demonstration at the start of the speech by Li Fei, a deputy secretary general of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, China's legislature, was a rare occasion on which a Beijing official faced open defiance.
Li continued his speech after security officers hustled the lawmakers out of the auditorium, to applause from other audience members, including lawmakers and local councilors from pro-establishment parties and business leaders. Police used pepper spray on members of a radical activist group attempting to storm metal barricades and enter the venue.