Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

Tens of thousands of Hong Kong anti-extradition law protesters block roads around gov’t HQ as bill meeting postponed

Tens of thousands of protesters have blocked roads around the government headquarters and legislature in protest of Hong Kong’s looming extradition law.

extradition road occupation

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Traffic is at a standstill as demonstrations use road occupation tactics last seen during the 79-day Umbrella Movement protests in 2014.

The legislative debate on the bill has been postponed after lawmakers were unable to access the Legislative Council Complex.

extradition road occupation

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Demonstrators remained overnight in the area and pushed on to Lung Wo Road and Harcourt Road in the early hours of Wednesday.

extradition road occupation

Photo: HKFP.

Dressed in black, protesters are using barricades to create bridges over the highway divisions, and are appealing for supplies such as water and face masks.

extradition road occupation

Photo: HKFP.

Pepper spray has been deployed by police on the frontlines of the protest site.

extradition road occupation

Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

The extradition bill was set to arrive at the main legislative chamber on Wednesday, and a vote expected next Thursday.

The legal amendments were tabled in February to allow the city to handle case-by-case extradition requests from jurisdictions with no prior agreements, most notably China and Taiwan.

extradition road occupation

Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP.

It would enable the chief executive and local courts to handle extradition requests without legislative oversight.

However, democrats, lawyers, journalistsforeign politicians and businesses have raised concerns over the risk of residents being extradited to the mainland, which lacks human rights safeguards.

extradition road occupation

Photo: HKFP.

The plan led to the largest protest in post-colonial history on Sunday, with organisers saying a million demonstrators took part.

Pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo told HKFP the mood of the crowd on Wednesday morning tense which could lead to clashes: “You can definitely feel the anger, frustration, resentment, just fill in the blank,” she said. “I bet Carrie Lam didn’t see this coming.”

Claudia Mo extradition

Claudia Mo. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

Mo said that the government could be trying to tire the crowd out but that protesters are taking it in turns to occupy the space around the legislature. She added that the Chief Executive should at least postpone the bill: “Hong Kong is plunging into chaos and you want to finish it, you want to complete it with bloodshed. How could you?”

extradition road occupation

Photo: Youngspiration.

Meanwhile, pro-democracy lawmaker Ted Hui, who has vowed to stand in front of protesters facing police on Tim Wa Avenue, told HKFP that it is difficult to predict how the protest will unfold as most people have come on their own and there is a lack of organisation.

Ted Hui extradition

Ted Hui. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

“The anger is growing, starting from the rally a few days ago, and there was physical conflict that day. That’s why I’m here, standing in front of them, asking them to stay calm,” Hui said. “If we are so peaceful and police will still use force, I would say please use force against me first and not the crowd.”

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung published a video at lunchtime urging protesters to leave the roads and to not to break laws. He also stressed it was urgent for the extradition bill to pass.

extradition bill occupation protest

Protesters collect recycling. Photo: Tom Grundy/HKFP.

Some businesses pledged to close on Wednesday amid calls for strike action.

More to follow.


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Tens of thousands of Hong Kong anti-extradition law protesters block roads around gov't HQ as bill meeting postponed