New protests shake Hong Kong as activists at G20 seek a vote
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong once again went into chaos on Thursday as protesters gathered outside the Attorney General's offices, blocking the streets and forcing the workers to leave the city in the recent riots for an extradition law which is now available to rock suspended.
Over the past three weeks, millions of people have taken to the streets to demand that the bill, which would allow suspects to be sent to the mainland in front of the Chinese Communist Party, be completely abolished.
"I think this move is very successful because this time the goal is very clear," said Ken Yau, a demonstrator who drew a contrast to Hong Kong's democracy movement of 201
4, which blocked parts of the Asian financial center for 79 days.
"I was 11 when the Umbrella Movement happened. I only went to the occupied places a few times with my family. "
In the blistering heat of 32 degrees Celsius, some protesters said," Withdraw the evil law, release the martyrs … Teresa Cheng, come out, "Recalling the Minister of Justice. Others called out: "Condemn excessive police violence and release protesters."
The police cordoned off to block the demonstrators. There were minor conflicts between Demosisto and the officers.
"Fight for Justice", "Free Hong Kong" and "Democracy Now" were some of the demands made on the protesters' banners.
Police chief Stephen Lo warned of the consequences of violence and condemned what he said to be a hostile environment that made it difficult for his officers. Riot police cleared the area in front of police headquarters following a rally before the G20 summit and called on the international community to support their call for the withdrawal of the extradition law by the government in Hong Kong, China, on June 27, 2019. REUTERS / Tyrone Siu
In the early hours of the morning, the riot police used bats and shields to track dozens of demonstrators as they disbanded a police headquarters siege.
The demonstrators have taken this week's G20 summit in Japan as an opportunity to appeal for Hong Kong's plight, a move that is sure to annoy Beijing, and that has vowed not to tolerate such a discussion.
"We know that the G20 is coming. We would like to take this opportunity to speak for ourselves, "said Jack Cool Tsang, 30, a theater technician who took a day off in protest.
Pictures of policemen firing rubber bullets and tear gas under sparkling skyscrapers near the financial center this month made headlines and were convicted by international right-wing groups and protest organizers.
The inconspicuous Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam bowed to pressure from the public in the last few days and suspended the bill one day after the violent protests, but stopped short of withdrawing completely and refused repeated calls for resignation.
The protests that have been the biggest challenge for Chinese President Xi Jinping since taking power in 2012 have repeatedly forced the temporary closure of government offices, blocked important roads and caused massive disruptions.
Since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, Hong Kong has been subject to the formula "one country, two systems", which allows for freedoms that do not apply in mainland China, including freedom to protest and independent judiciary.
But many blame China for interfering over the years by obstructing democratic reforms, disrupting elections, suppressing young activists, and behind the disappearance of five Hong Kong-based booksellers specializing in works, the Chinese leaders criticize.
Opponents of the extradition law fear that they will be at the mercy of a legal group allegedly plagued by torture, forced confessions and arbitrary detention.
(This story corrects typos in eight paragraphs.)
Reporting by Vimvam Tong, Jessie Pang, Delfina Wentzel, Donny Kwok, and Noah Sin, written by Anne Marie Roantree; Edited by Clarence Fernandez
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.