Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam apologised on Sunday as hundreds of thousands of black-clad protesters maintained calls for her to resign over her handling of a bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial.
Critics say the planned extradition law could threaten Hong Kong's rule of law and its global reputation as an Asian financial hub.
Except for a short opinion piece in the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily, Chinese state media - which has drummed up support for the bill in recent weeks - remained mum Sunday after the climbdown by chief executive Carrie Lam. Another meeting is expected to be held on Saturday. "People are afraid of using profile picture frames on Facebook that are created to support the anti-extradition bill movement in Hong Kong and are warning each other to watch what they say", Ho told CNA. Protest organisers demanded the bill's full withdrawal and showed their anger at the way police handled a demonstration on Wednesday, when more than 70 people were injured by rubber bullets and tear gas.
"We demand Carrie Lam to step down, completely withdraw the extradition law, and retract the "riot" label", he said, referring to Lam's previous term to describe protesters earlier in the week.
Police said they had no choice but to use force to meet violent protesters who besieged their lines outside the city's parliament on Wednesday.
Her climbdown is a rare example of the city's unelected leaders caving-in to demonstrations - something more recent administrations have been increasingly unwilling to do.
Critics were also angry that Lam missed repeated opportunities to apologise for what many saw as heavy-handed police tactics. "She stays on, we stay on", said pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo.
Periodically, the shouts of the protesters standing shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the police headquarters would crescendo into a roar that reverberated through the narrow concrete canyons of the red-light district of Wanchai.
Protesters raise placards as they march on the streets against an extradition bill in Hong Kong. Yet as Hong Kong's protests began Sunday, China Central Television seemingly ignored the issue at hand, instead broadcasting a report on President Xi Jinping's visit to the former Soviet republic of Tajikistan.Читайте также: Petsmart's Chewy IPO soars 59% in stock market debut
After an unexpectedly large crowd of protesters poured onto the streets and converged outside the city's Legislative Council, Lam had made a rare public apology on Sunday, saying she will accept criticism for the controversial extradition bill.
But she said she was suspending the bill indefinitely. For this, Carrie Lam, must assume responsibility and resign, they say.
So far, China has been excluded from Hong Kong's extradition agreements because of concerns over its judicial independence and human rights record.
The Demosisto activist was among several protesters who failed to comply with an injunction to clear the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement protest camp in Mong Kok in 2014.
Many here believe Hong Kong's legal autonomy has been significantly diminished despite Beijing's insistence that it is still honouring its promise, dubbed "one country, two systems", that the territory can retain its own social, legal and political system for 50 years after the handover in 1997.
"They told me they now fear police may come knocking on their doors", she said.
Beijing for its part has backed Lam's version of events and said the idea originated in Hong Kong, according to a BBC interview with Liu Xiaoming, China's ambassador to the UK. "We're fighting for our freedom". Opponents of the law fear that it can be used against opponents of the Chinese authorities.
Among the crowd was a 24-year-old Hong Kong student from National Taiwan University of Arts named Rice Ho (何美嫻), who chose to take to the streets because the extradition bill could pose a threat not only to Hong Kongers, but also people from Taiwan.
Many accuse Beijing of extensive meddling since then, including obstruction of democratic reforms, interference with elections and of being behind the disappearance of five Hong Kong-based booksellers, starting in 2015, who specialised in works critical of Chinese leaders.При любом использовании материалов сайта и дочерних проектов, гиперссылка на обязательна.
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