Hong Kong police fired pepper spray at protesters on Sunday, as hundreds of activists rallied outside the office of Beijing's representative in the territory to demonstrate against the central government's impending legal intervention to curb a fledgling independence movement.
Minor scuffles broke out as some protesters hurled bottles at police, some armed with batons.
At least one protester was arrested. Around 20 protesters were hit with pepper spray, some protecting themselves with umbrellas - the symbol of the 79-day street protests that rocked Hong Kong in 2014.
"This is about our future," said one teary eyed young woman.
A ruling on Monday from a top committee of China's parliament, the National People's Congress, is expected to effectively bar the recently elected lawmakers Yau Wai-ching, 25, and Baggio Leung, 30, from taking office.
The pair set off a fierce debate when they pledged allegiance to the "Hong Kong nation" and displayed a "Hong Kong is not China" banner during a swearing-in ceremony for the city's legislative council in October. Their oaths were not accepted and their right to re-take them is being challenged in the local courts by the Hong Kong government.
The congress's standing committee is not waiting for the judgment, however. It has discussed invoking its rarely used power to interpret Hong Kong's mini constitution, the Basic Law, to stop them taking office.