This site uses cookies to improve your experience and to provide services and advertising. By continuing to browse, you agree to the use of cookies described in our Cookies Policy. You may change your settings at any time but this may impact on the functionality of the site. To learn more see our Cookies Policy.
OK
Dublin: 9 °C Friday 6 December, 2019
Advertisement

Demonstrators clash with police after more than a million people turn out for Hong Kong protests

People took to the streets en masse to protest a new law that would allow extradition to China from Hong Kong.

Updated Jun 9th 2019, 6:05 PM

Hong Kong Extradition Law Source: Kin Cheung/PA Images

LARGE PROTESTS HAVE taken place in Hong Kong over a proposal to allow extradition to China, leading to police clashes with protesters as they tried to clear demonstrators from the city’s parliament.

In what has been described as the biggest public backlash against the city’s pro-Beijing leadership in years, over a million people marched through the streets of the financial hub’s main island calling on the government to scrap its planned extradition law.

The city’s leaders are pushing a bill through the legislature that would allow extraditions to any jurisdiction with which it does not already have a treaty – including mainland China for the first time.

Critics fear the law would entangle people in China’s court system, which they say is poltiticised not impartial, and say the government is using the Taiwan case as a Trojan Horse.

Many protesters said they no longer trust the Hong Kong government to stick to its commitments that Beijing critics would not one day end up getting sent to the mainland.

Violent clashes

Protesters hurled bottles and used metal barricades as police moved in on a small group who had vowed to stay outside the legislature overnight, an AFP reporter on the scene said.

At least one police officer could be seen with blood streaming down his face.

The melees began shortly after midnight following a day that had seen a huge peaceful protest make its way through the city without incident. 

Organisers said more than a million people marched in blazing summer heat through the cramped streets of the financial hub’s main island on Sunday in a noisy, colourful demonstration calling on the government to scrap its planned extradition law.

Huge protest against extradition bill in Hong Kong, China - 9 June 2019 Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

Small groups of young protesters had planned to stay outside the city’s legislature until Wednesday when the extradition bill is due to have its second reading.

But police moved in on them after their permission to protest expired at midnight local time. 

Within minutes scenes of chaos unfolded as protesters fought with officers who were soon backed by riot police.

Live television images showed officers deploying pepper spray hoses to push the crowds back. 

Momentum

In recent weeks lawyers have held sombre marches dressed in black, anonymous senior judges have given critical media interviews and the city’s two main legal groups – the Law Society and the Bar Association – have urged a rethink.

Online petitions have been gathered by various groups including students, nurses and horse racing fans.

Hong Kong Extradition Law Students wore chains as they marched to protest against the extradition bill in Hong Kong. Source: Kin Cheung

Political leaders have said the law is needed to plug loopholes and stop the city being a bolthole for mainland fugitives. They say dissidents and critics will not be extradited and have urged quick passage of the bill in order to extradite a Hong Kong man who is wanted in Taiwan for murdering his girlfriend.

The city’s administration has already made some concessions, removing nine economic crimes from the list of extraditable offences. It also changed the proposal to state that only crimes that carry seven years or more in jail will be considered. 

The proposed law has been fast-tracked through the city’s legislature which is dominated by pro-Beijing members for its second reading on Wednesday.

The government says it plans to have the law on the statute book by late July.

Source: AP/PA Images

One man who attended the march, 26-year-old coffee shop owner Marco Ng said he had closed his store to protest.

“Our city matters more than our business,” he said. “If we don’t speak out, then there’s no way that the government will listen to our concerns.”

“The people’s voices are not being heard,” added 18-year-old student Ivan Wong. “This bill will not just affect Hong Kong’s reputation as an international finance centre, but also our judicial system. That has an impact on my future.”

- With reporting from AFP.

  • Share on Facebook
  • Email this article
  •  

Read next:

COMMENTS (33)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a commentcancel