Hong Kong protest: ‘Nearly two million’ join demonstration

Hong Kong protest: ‘Nearly two million’ join demonstration

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Nearly two million people have taken part in a mass protest in Hong Kong against a controversial extradition bill, organisers say.

If confirmed, it would be the largest protest in Hong Kong’s history. Police said turnout was 338,000 at its peak.

The masses turned out despite the suspension of the bill – which would allow extradition from Hong Kong to mainland China – on Saturday.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Sunday apologised for proposing the bill.

Many protesters, who fear increased Chinese influence over Hong Kong, are calling on her to resign over the unrest.

They are also demanding that the bill be scrapped, not just suspended.

“Today’s march we had almost two million people,” Jimmy Sham, from the Civil Human Rights Front protest group, told reporters late on Sunday evening.

The protest was mainly peaceful, with police officers reportedly holding back to allow the throngs of people to slowly pass through the city. This contrasted to scenes at the last previous major demonstration on Wednesday, which saw clashes between protesters and police that injured dozens.

The demonstration began early in the afternoon in Victoria Square, with many wearing black.

Many held white flowers to mourn a protester who fell to his death on Saturday from a ledge, where hours earlier he had unfurled an anti-extradition banner.

The progress of the march was slow, as the large numbers of people blocked many streets and crowded train stations.

As darkness fell, protesters started to take over major roads and crossings and surrounded the legislative council building.

They carried placards that read “The students did not riot”, in response to police labelling last Wednesday’s student protests a riot – an offence punishable by up to 10 years in jail.

There was scepticism among some protesters about Ms Lam’s decision to suspend the bill.

“Carrie Lam has ignored the feelings of Hong Kongers,” Mr Ma, a 67-year-old protester, told the BBC. He said Ms Lam had “acted like it was no big deal” after a reported million people marched last week.

“Secondly, we are marching for the students who were brutally treated by the police. We need to get justice for them.”

Chloe Yim, 20, who had joined the protests for the first time, said: “If Carrie sees so many people come out, and still doesn’t listen – she’s being an autocrat who doesn’t listen to people. Hong Kong people can’t accept that.”__BBC

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