Massive numbers of protesters gathered within the metropolis’s Victoria Park simply after noon Sunday, donning black and sporting white ribbons on their chests. Many carried bunches of white flowers to honor a person who died after falling from a constructing Saturday whereas holding banners opposing the extradition invoice.
“We purchase the white flower to hope that he can relaxation in peace,” stated 23-year-old Michael, who works in concessions and gave solely his first identify. Like many others round him, he carried an indication saying “Freedom is Not Free.”
Confronted with one more enormous protest over her dealing with of the invoice, Lam issued a uncommon apology Sunday evening, admitting “deficiencies” within the authorities’s work had led to “substantial controversies and disputes in society,” inflicting disappointment and grief for residents of Hong Kong.
However for the protesters, neither the suspension nor the apology was sufficient.
They concern the invoice could possibly be used to extradite residents to mainland China for political or inadvertent enterprise offenses and are pushing for it to be shelved fully.
“We have to come out and inform the federal government we can not approve this China extradition invoice,” stated Michael, including that he believed Lam would proceed to push for the invoice at a later date.
“We have to cease this as a result of Hong Kong is a really particular place. The financial system, the tradition, it is a particular one for the world,” he stated.
Members of the early crowd had been predominantly younger individuals, however they had been quickly joined by households.
Aerial pictures alongside the protest route from town’s Victoria Park by means of the downtown space to Tim Mei Avenue in Admiralty confirmed the gang at standstill, as crowd numbers continued to surge all through the afternoon and into the early night.
Mandy, who turned 18 on Sunday, stated she did not attend the primary anti-extradition protest on June 9 when organizers estimate greater than 1 million individuals — about one in seven of town’s inhabitants — took to the streets in a peaceable march in opposition to the laws.
“By means of this week I feel the issue has change into increasingly critical and I ought to stand out. So I joined this marketing campaign right this moment,” she stated.
“I feel this protest is extra essential than my birthday so I come right here,” she stated.
Chik Kim Ping, 65, and her husband Tse, 70, traveled from the New Territories within the north of town to protest the extradition invoice.
“It is essential for us to do that for our kids,” Chik Kim Ping stated. “We’re outdated and haven’t got a lot time left. We cannot see what is going on to occur in 2047 (when Hong Kong totally turns into a part of China) however our kids will.”
The choice to go forward with Sunday’s protest follows violent clashes between police and protesters Wednesday, after tens of hundreds of principally younger individuals surrounded town’s authorities headquarters, forcing legislators to postpone a debate on the invoice.
Protest organizers are calling for authorities to drop fees in opposition to the 11 individuals arrested throughout protests Wednesday, amid widespread criticism of police ways.
As much as 5,000 riot police fired 150 rounds of tear fuel, rubber bullets and bean bag rounds in the course of the course of the day. The variety of tear fuel canisters used was virtually double the quantity fired throughout 2014’s pro-democracy Umbrella Motion, when town was delivered to a standstill for 79 days.
Movies from Wednesday’s protest confirmed police spraying tear fuel immediately into protesters’ faces and beating them with batons.
Talking after Lam’s information convention Saturday, pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo stated protests would proceed all through town till she steps down.
“If she refuses to withdraw, to scrap this controversial invoice altogether, it will imply that we would not retreat. She stays on. We keep on,” Mo stated. “Carrie Lam has misplaced all credibility among the many Hong Kong individuals. She should step down.”
Earlier than she grew to become chief govt in 2017, Lam stated she would resign “if mainstream opinion makes me not capable of proceed the job.”
Civil Human Rights Entrance (CHRF), the organizers of Hong Kong protests, say they may strike till Lam steps down.
CHRF estimated that just about 2 million individuals descended on town’s streets Sunday, numbers they are saying are unprecedented. Police estimated that the 338,000 individuals adopted the protest’s unique route.
In a press release launched by the group, CHRF stated the individuals of Hong Kong would hold protesting till the federal government withdraws the extradition invoice in its entirety, retracts the characterization of the protests as a “riot,” releases arrested protesters and withdraws all fees.
“Ought to the federal government refuse to reply, solely extra Hong Kongers will strike tomorrow,” CHRF stated.
Though Hong Kong is a part of China, it has a unique authorized system — an idea often called “one nation, two methods.”
“We’re afraid that we are going to change into a mainland metropolis,” lawmaker Fernando Cheung stated Thursday. “We’d not have rule of legislation, our personal autonomy.”
All through the controversy Lam has maintained that the invoice is critical to make sure that Hong Kong doesn’t change into a sanctuary for fugitives operating from justice in mainland China.
Hong Kong’s legislative council is because of go on summer season recess July 20 earlier than starting once more in October.
CNN’s Caroline Kwok contributed to this report.