Duelling Hong Kong protests in Vancouver shut down major intersection near city hall

Duelling Hong Kong protests in Vancouver shut down major intersection near city hall

A large demonstration in Vancouver supporting the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong has been met by pro-China counter-protesters, forcing the closure of a major intersection Saturday.

Vancouver police began diverting traffic at Cambie Street and Broadway around 4:30 p.m. after hundreds of demonstrators outside the Broadway-City Hall SkyTrain station spilled into the streets.

One lane on each street has been set aside to allow pedestrians to pass by, with TransLink staff assisting police in keeping people off the road.

No injures or violence have been reported so far. Vancouver police have yet to provide comment.

Despite the huge presence outside the SkyTrain and the disruption to the 97 B-Line route, TransLink has yet to issue a service disruption for the area.

Supporters for Hong Kong waved banners calling for an end to police violence in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, while Beijing supporters carried Chinese flags and demanded an end to the protests altogether.

The duelling demonstrations mirrored those that took place in Hong Kong itself this weekend, as well as in several other Canadian cities and dozens more around the world.

WATCH: Hong Kong protesters defy authority, brace for another showdown

Conflicts between police and protesters, who are mostly students, have been escalating for weeks as Hong Kong citizens demand democratic elections, an independent investigation into police force, and the resignation of the territory’s leader, Carrie Lam.

Lam has been under fire ever since backing a controversial bill that would make it easier for people to be extradited to Beijing to face trial. Critics have argued it would make it easier for the Communist country to jail political enemies on unfounded charges and weaken Hong Kong’s democratic rights.

Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland condemned the violence in Hong Kong in a statement Saturday, urging restraint in the wake of “a rising number of unacceptable violent incidents.”

—With files from the Canadian Press