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China’s National Day fireworks cancelled in Hong Kong due to protests

WATCH ABOVE: Rather arrest than no freedom, Hong Kong protesters pledge to fight on

An annual fireworks display in Hong Kong marking China’s National Day on Oct. 1 was called off Wednesday as pro-democracy protests show no sign of ending.

The city issued a terse statement saying the show over its famed Victoria Harbour had been cancelled “in view of the latest situation and having regard to public safety.”

READ MORE: Hong Kong activists urge U.S. Congress to support cause with democracy bill

Major protests are expected on Oct. 1, which will be the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party-governed People’s Republic of China.

Hong Kong has experienced often-violent demonstrations all summer as many residents fear the Chinese government is eroding the rights and freedoms the semi-autonomous territory is supposed to have under a “one country, two systems” framework.

The protests have divided the city. Dozens of supporters of China waved Chinese flags and sang the national anthem in a mall on Wednesday, while anti-government protesters booed them.

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WATCH: Hong Kong police blasts water cannon at protesters as march erupts into violence

Hong Kong police blasts water cannon at protesters as march erupts into violence
Hong Kong police blasts water cannon at protesters as march erupts into violence

Plainclothes police escorted them out of the mall, and officers formed a human chain to prevent clashes with the other side. At a similar rally at a mall last weekend, what started as heckling turned violent as people traded blows, some using umbrellas to hit their opponents.

READ MORE: Carrie Lam to begin speaking with Hong Kong community to ease tensions, violence

The anthem singing has sought to counter a newly penned protest song sung by democracy supporters in malls.

The protests also led the Hong Kong Jockey Club to cancel horse racing on Wednesday night. Some protesters had suggested targeting the club because a horse owned by controversial pro-Beijing lawmaker Junius Ho was due to run, public broadcaster RTHK reported.

WATCH: Activists push U.S. Congress to pass Hong Kong bill

Hong Kong police blasts water cannon at protesters as march erupts into violence
Hong Kong police blasts water cannon at protesters as march erupts into violence

“Our concerns are tied to potential social unrest in the vicinity tonight, the very real threat of a disturbance or possible violence at Happy Valley Racecourse, and uncertainty regarding transportation … for racegoers, jockeys and employees and horses throughout the evening,” the club said in a statement.

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