Protesters mass in Hong Kong as anthem law is debated

HONG KONG (AP) — Thousands of protesters are shouting pro-democracy slogans and insults at police in Hong Kong as lawmakers debate a bill that would criminalize abuse of the Chinese anthem. Police massed around the legislative building and raised flags warning protesters to disperse. In the Central business district, they shot pepper balls at protesters and searched several people. The anthem bill comes years after Hong Kong spectators jeered the anthem during high-profile soccer matches. Separately, China’s parliament is advancing a security law forbidding secessionist and subversive activities and foreign interference in Hong Kong. Months of pro-democracy demonstrations last year were marked at times by violent clashes between police and protesters.