HONG KONG (Reuters) – Thousands of demonstrators are expected to take to the streets in the heart of Hong Kong's tourism district on Sunday to explain to Chinese visitors their refusal to grant a extradition law that has plunged the city into political turmoil.
FILE PHOTO – Automated Immigration Clearance Machines for departing passengers are located in the port area of Hong Kong at West Kowloon Station, where the MTR Corp. is located. developed terminal for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong (XRL) high-speed railway line. in Hong Kong, China, September 22, 2018. Giulia Marchi / Pool via REUTERS
Protests against the bill now suspended have lured millions of people onto the streets of the former British colony in recent weeks. Challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since his Taking power in 2012.
The bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland Chinese Communist Party-controlled courts has sparked outrage in much of Hong Kong, threatening the esteemed rule of law that underpins the city's international financial status.
Demonstrators besieged and raided the Parliament building in the heart of the city on Monday before being shoved back by the police with tear gas.
The protests in mainland China are not very common. Since the bloody suppression of democracy activists on and around Tiananmen Square in June 1989, censors have blocked most of the news from the biggest demonstrations. Their message is aimed directly at Chinese tourists on the mainland for the first time. The rally ends at the city's high speed train station, which is connected to the mainland.
Lau Wing-hong, one of the protest organizers, said the rally was peaceful and would end after demonstrators arrived at their destination near the station. There were no plans to enter the station, he said.
"It is hoped that people in Hong Kong will be able to spread about how Hong Kong people can march peacefully and bring the protest information back to mainland visitors to the mainland," Lau told Reuters.
Police and train crew guarded every exit of the station. Travelers who dropped their suitcases said they did not know about the protests and knew nothing about the delivery bill. They told Reuters that they understood that the government had blocked parts of the station for security reasons.
Hong Kong's MTR Corporation, which operates the city's subway, said it would close all entrances to West Kowloon Station except for a specific route for passengers. Food and beverage trade would also be closed.
Online train tickets between Hong Kong and Shenzhen on the mainland were sold out from 2.30pm to 6.30pm. (0630 GMT-1030 GMT), matching the hours of the protest.
The station RTHK said more than 1,000 police officers would be on standby. The police said on Sunday that some roads would be temporarily closed and public transport redirected.
The Hong Kong Tourism Association has also stated that some travel agencies would stay away from the trendy Tsim Sha Tsui area on Sundays, which is popular with visitors to the mainland.
The organizers have published witty advertising to urge people to join the march. "Dear sorcerers, if you have not been able to turn cold into warmth of heart, join us on July 7th," one said.
The extradition law that kept Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam at work would affect Hong Kong residents as well as foreign and Chinese nationals living in the city or traveling around the city.
Lawyers and legal groups claim that China's judicial system is characterized by torture, forced confessions, and arbitrary detention. The demonstrators want the bill completely withdrawn.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under the formula "One Country, Two Systems", which allows for freedoms that do not apply in mainland China, including freedom to protest and independent judiciary.
Lam has offered closed-door discussions to students from two universities, but activists have called for the discussions to be open to the public, calling for a cessation of investigations against demonstrators. The police began this week with the arrest of demonstrators.
Nearly 2,000 people marched on Saturday to the northwest residential district of Tuen Mun to protest against middle-aged women on the mainland.
Protesters said the singers had caused noise disturbance and disturbed the residents. Brawls erupted and the police used pepper spray to disperse the crowd, the station RTHK said.
coverage by Felix Tam, Vimvam Tong, Twinnie Siu, Alexander Solum, Jessie Pang and Noah Sin; Letter from the Farah master; Editing by Paul Tait