On Friday the Legislative Council (LegCo) hosted alarming scenes as pro-Beijing legislators protected by security took control of a committee chair, sparking a standoff which escalated to violence. They were seeking to pass a controversial law which would criminalise disrespect of the national anthem. A weekend of flash mobs followed. The scenes were reminiscent of 2019 when legislators came to blows over the controversial extradition bill, which went on to spark the massive demonstrations that roiled the city for months. That bill was eventually withdrawn, but it was too late to stop the protests evolving into a broader pro-democracy movement which promises to kick on this year.
But analysts say there is more at stake now, with September elections looming, at which pro-democracy candidates could win a majority.