Hong Kong Law & Crime Politics & Protest

Hong Kong protesters occupy roads around Gov’t HQ again, as huge anti-extradition law rally escalates

Hongkongers marched in their thousands on Sunday to call for the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill, despite the government on Saturday stating that it would postpone its plans. As night fell, demonstrators occupied roads around government headquarters and legislature, in a repeat of the tactics seen during the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement.

Harcourt Road

Harcourt Road. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP.

Leaving Victoria Park at 2:30pm, the crowds marched through Wanchai and Causeway Bay chanting for Chief Executive Carrie Lam to resign.

protest china extradition

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Traffic came to a standstill around government headquarters as protesters reached the endpoint and poured onto the surrounding highways.

harcourt occupied china extradition

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

A large banner reading “You can’t silence us” was unfurled from an overpass above Harcourt Road, as the crowds allowed stranded buses to leave the occupied zone.

harcourt occupied china extradition

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

Throughout the day, protesters were clad in all black and many carried white funeral flowers in tribute to a 35-year-old man who fell from a building in Admiralty on Saturday while protesting the extradition law.

china extradition rally

Photo: Apple Daily.

See also: In Pictures: Flowers pile up for Hong Kong anti-extradition protester who died

china extradition march

Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

Hong Kong has been rocked by a series of protests in recent weeks against the proposed bill, the largest of which organisers said was attended by 1.03 million people, although police put the figure at 240,000.

The brief occupation of roads around the legislature on Wednesday ended in violence as police deployed tear gas and rubber bullets against crowds advancing forwards throwing objects.

Harcourt Road

Harcourt Road. Photo: HKFP.

HKFP Lens: The day that shook Hong Kong – dramatic photos from the frontlines

protest china extradition

Photo: inmediahk.net.

On Sunday, demonstrators called on the authorities to withdraw their characterisation of Wednesday’s protest as a “riot,” as using such a term could see participants face 10-year jail terms, if convicted.

Wielding photos of injured demonstrators and images of apparent police misconduct, they called for the release of arrested protesters.

Lam Ngali, a 38-year-old lecturer, told HKFP she did not take her children to the rally to today’s protest, because of potential clashes.

Sun June 16 china extradition protest

Photo: Deacon Lui.

“This is the first time police have used [rubber bullet] guns,” she said. “Last time I saw this was at Tiananmen.”

Harcourt Road

Harcourt Road. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP.

Ken Tsang, who was filmed being assaulted by police officers in 2014 during the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement, told HKFP that the use of force against Wednesday’s protesters was unacceptable: “It was extremely violent, much more than they should do. They didn’t feel sorry at all,” he said.

Lawmaker Dennis Kwok told HKFP that an independent inquiry should be set up to look into the police conduct on Wednesday, including an investigation into those who ordered the shooting of rubber bullets.

Dennis Kwok extradition

Pro-democracy legislator Dennis Kwok (left). Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

“The Hong Kong people obviously will not accept a suspension [of the extradition bill]. What they want is a full withdrawal of the bill and responsibility to be taken by the person who ordered the shooting on Wednesday,” Kwok said.

china extradition march

Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

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

The bill would enable the chief executive and local courts to handle extradition requests without legislative oversight, although lawyersjournalistsforeign politicians and businesses have raised concerns over the risk of residents being extradited to the mainland which lacks human rights protections.

china extradition march

‘Carrie Lam is not my mother’ – a reference to an interview the Hong Kong leader gave where she said she would not withdraw the extradition bill just as a mother should not indulge their children. Photo: Jennifer Creery/HKFP.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Sunday that the government would suspend the bill after pro-establishment lawmakers had urged the administration to delay it. Lam said it had also become clear that Taiwan would not receive the murder suspect, whose case triggered the extradition law update.

The government’s proposal was spurred by the case of Poon Hiu-wing, a pregnant 20-year-old Hong Kong woman who was killed during a trip to Taiwan in February.

Her boyfriend Chan Tong-kai fled to Hong Kong where he was unable to be extradited to Taiwan to face trial. Chan is now serving jail time for unrelated charges.


 

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Hong Kong protesters occupy roads around Gov't HQ again, as huge anti-extradition law rally escalates