Around a dozen overseas protests have been planned in opposition to the Hong Kong government’s extradition bill, echoing local efforts to mobilise 300,000 people to take to the streets this coming Sunday.
Over the weekend, Facebook events were created for events in London, New York, Washington DC, Sydney and Berlin. Protests are also planned for San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Toronto, Melbourne and Brisbane.
The extradition bill, if passed, will allow Hong Kong to transfer fugitives to jurisdictions with which it has no existing rendition deal – most notably China. The pro-democracy camp has criticised the bill for exposing local residents to the risk of facing trial in the mainland, where there are concerns over the rule of law and human rights protections.
Organisers of the London rally said the event will show “solidarity” with the bill’s opponents in Hong Kong, and will take place outside London’s Chinese Embassy.
The rally in Berlin will take place outside the Hong Kong Economic and Trade office, with its organisers saying the bill was the “most evil” legislation since the 1997 Handover.
The overseas protests are set to coincide with Hong Kong’s June 9 march organised by the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF). The previous march on the issue, held in late April, saw a turnout of 130,000 – the largest demonstration since the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement.
On Sunday, police issued a notice of no objection for the march, which specified that it will start at Victoria Park’s central lawn in Causeway Bay and end at the Legislative Council complex in Admiralty.
The CHRF complained that it was dissatisfied with the police’s arrangements, including their refusal to open up the eastbound lane of Hennessy Road. Police also said they would not halt traffic to let protesters cross East Point Road and Hennessy Road, meaning that crowds could be bottlenecked in Causeway Bay.
The notice of no objection gave the event organisers no choice, the CHRF said, because it meant the protest could only be held if it followed the police’s conditions.
The CHRF said it would not appeal against the notice, so as not to jeopardise the opportunity for the public to protest. It also reminded attendees to prepare for delays on the day.
China legal system ‘adequate’
Security minister John Lee and justice minister Teresa Cheng continued to defend the bill over the weekend, after the government announced its latest concessions on the bill last Thursday.
Lee previously said that Hong Kong could demand “top-up protections” that safeguarded a fugitive’s rights after the transfer was complete. However, he admitted on Sunday that such requests – which could include the guarantee of an open trial – would be administrative in nature, instead of being specified in the body of the legislation itself.
Lee added that the measure was intended to ensure “flexibility,” and that China’s criminal justice system can protect rights. He did not say what the Hong Kong government could do if the conditions it set were breached.
With the bill scheduled to be tabled at the full council of the legislature on June 12, the legislature’s rules dictate that no further amendments could be submitted after June 1.
The legislature said it received a total of 258 proposed amendments from 22 lawmakers, and one amendment from the government.
Civic Party lawmakers Dennis Kwok and Alvin Yeung told media that they were behind at least 30 of the amendments, which they said were necessary to scrutinise the government’s bill. However, they said they expected some of the amendments to be slashed by the legislature’s president Andrew Leung.
The legal sector is also set to stage a rare protest this Thursday.
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