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G-7 leaders back Hong Kong autonomy, call for calm

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G-7 leaders meeting in France on Monday backed Hong Kong's autonomy as laid out in a 1984 agreement between Britain and China and called for calm in the protest-hit city.

[BIARRITZ, France] G-7 leaders meeting in France on Monday backed Hong Kong's autonomy as laid out in a 1984 agreement between Britain and China and called for calm in the protest-hit city.

"The G-7 reaffirms the existence and the importance of the 1984 Sino-British agreement on Hong Kong and calls for avoiding violence," according to a joint statement issued in French at the end of a G-7 meeting in Biarritz, southwest France.

The city has been wracked by more than two months of protests over an attempt by its Beijing-backed government to pass an extradition bill which opponents saw as a huge dent in Hong Kong's autonomy.

They have since morphed into a call for greater democracy and police accountability, with youths at the forefront of demonstrations that have at times descended into clashes with security forces.

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On Monday, police used water cannons to repel what they termed "extremely violent" demonstrators, following another weekend of clashes at pro-democracy rallies.

Twenty-one officers were injured during the clashes, Hong Kong police said, while dozens of protesters were arrested - including a 12-year-old - for unlawful assembly, possession of weapons and assaulting police.

Officials worldwide have urged Hong Kong authorities to show restraint to avoid serious violence or death.

AFP