The Latest: Tear gas, water cannon used in Hong Kong protest

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Police officers stand vigil in heavy rain during a pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. About 1,000 people were taking part in a Christian march through central Hong Kong on Saturday as a 13th straight weekend of pro-democracy protests got underway. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

HONG KONG (AP) — The Latest on the protests in Hong Kong (all times local):

5:55 p.m.

Hong Kong police are using tear gas and a water cannon to try to drive back protesters outside government headquarters.

Protesters pointed laser beams at police on Saturday and appeared to throw objects over large barriers keeping them away from the building.

Officers responded by firing tear gas into the crowds of protesters from the other side of the barriers. Police later fired water cannon at them too.

Protesters have not left the area and are banging at the barriers as if to break into the area where the police are.

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3:50 p.m.

Large crowds of protesters are gathering and marching in central Hong Kong as police ready for possible confrontations near the Chinese government’s main office or elsewhere in the city.

The black-shirted protesters have taken over parts of major roads and intersections Saturday as they rally and march.

Authorities turned down an application for a march to the Chinese government office to mark the fifth anniversary of an Aug. 31 decision by China’s ruling Communist Party against fully democratic elections in Hong Kong.

Police erected barriers, brought out two water cannon trucks and deployed at various locations in riot gear in anticipation of unauthorized demonstrations.

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2 p.m.

Hundreds of people have begun marching in central Hong Kong in what organizers are calling a Christian protest.

After gathering Saturday at an athletic park, they headed to a nearby Methodist church. The crowd alternated between singing hymns and chanting the slogans of the pro-democracy movement that has taken to the streets of Hong Kong for more than two months.

Authorities turned down an application from another group for a major march, but they were preparing for expected unauthorized demonstrations.

Religious meetings do not require police approval, but police said late Friday that a procession with more than 30 people does.

An online flyer for the march said it would go from the church to police headquarters and then the official residence of the city’s leader.

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1:30 p.m.

Hundreds of people are rallying in an athletic park in central Hong Kong as a 13th straight weekend of pro-democracy protests gets underway.

A crowd of both young and old pumped their fists as they chanted slogans in the stands of the soccer field at Southorn Playground early Saturday afternoon.

Authorities are shutting down streets and subway service about 5 kilometers (3 miles) west near the Chinese government’s office in Hong Kong. They warned that a public event may cause severe disruptions.

Saturday marks the fifth anniversary of a decision by China’s ruling Communist Party against fully democratic elections in Hong Kong.

Organizers have called off a planned march to the Chinese government office after police denied permission for it, but some protesters may demonstrate anyway.

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