Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong protesters kick off latest mass rally

Hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets of Hong Kong today, with some of the marchers defacing a national Chinese emblem in their latest expression of protest against mainland authorities.

Protesters are calling for an independent investigation into police tactics as there is seemingly no end in sight to the turmoil engulfing the finance hub, sparked by years of rising anger over Beijing’s rule.   

After the march reached its designated end point in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district, thousands continued onward, at various points occupying key government and business districts before departing for the Liaison Office, which represents China’s Communist Party-led central government within the city.

Hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets of Hong Kong today, with some of the marchers defacing a national Chinese emblem in their latest expression of protest against mainland authorities

Hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets of Hong Kong today, with some of the marchers defacing a national Chinese emblem in their latest expression of protest against mainland authorities

Protesters are calling for an independent investigation into police tactics as there is seemingly no end in sight to the turmoil engulfing the finance hub, sparked by years of rising anger over Beijing's rule

Protesters are calling for an independent investigation into police tactics as there is seemingly no end in sight to the turmoil engulfing the finance hub, sparked by years of rising anger over Beijing's rule

Hundreds of thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators took to the streets of Hong Kong today, with some of the marchers defacing a national Chinese emblem in their latest expression of protest against mainland authorities. Protesters are calling for an independent investigation into police tactics as there is seemingly no end in sight to the turmoil engulfing the finance hub, sparked by years of rising anger over Beijing’s rule

Some held up banners that said, 'LIAR' and 'No excuse Carrie Lame'. A poster plastered on a lamppost called for an 'Investigation on police brutality'

Some held up banners that said, 'LIAR' and 'No excuse Carrie Lame'. A poster plastered on a lamppost called for an 'Investigation on police brutality'

Some held up banners that said, ‘LIAR’ and ‘No excuse Carrie Lame’. A poster plastered on a lamppost called for an ‘Investigation on police brutality’ 

After the march reached its designated end point in Hong Kong's Wan Chai district, thousands continued onward, at various points occupying key government and business districts before departing for the Liaison Office, which represents China's Communist Party-led central government within the city

After the march reached its designated end point in Hong Kong's Wan Chai district, thousands continued onward, at various points occupying key government and business districts before departing for the Liaison Office, which represents China's Communist Party-led central government within the city

After the march reached its designated end point in Hong Kong’s Wan Chai district, thousands continued onward, at various points occupying key government and business districts before departing for the Liaison Office, which represents China’s Communist Party-led central government within the city

An anti-extradition demonstrator puts down a smoke cake in front of Chinese Liaison Office

An anti-extradition demonstrator puts down a smoke cake in front of Chinese Liaison Office

An anti-extradition demonstrator puts down a smoke cake in front of Chinese Liaison Office

Protesters spray wall of Chinese Liaison Office

Protesters spray wall of Chinese Liaison Office

A protester sprays CCTV camera outside the Chinese liaison office

A protester sprays CCTV camera outside the Chinese liaison office

Protesters sprayed the walls (left) and CCTV cameras (right) of the Chinese liaison office in Hong Kong

Riot police stand guard outside the China Liaison Office where protesters threw eggs and graffitied the building

Riot police stand guard outside the China Liaison Office where protesters threw eggs and graffitied the building

Riot police stand guard outside the China Liaison Office where protesters threw eggs and graffitied the building

An egg thrown by a protester hits the National Emblem of the People's Republic of China at the Chinese Liaison Office

An egg thrown by a protester hits the National Emblem of the People's Republic of China at the Chinese Liaison Office

National emblem is being splashed with paint after anti-extradition bill protest

National emblem is being splashed with paint after anti-extradition bill protest

Protesters attacked the national emblem of China, throwing eggs (left) and black paint (right) at it

Black-clad activists take aim at the Chinese Liaison office throwing eggs to deface it

Black-clad activists take aim at the Chinese Liaison office throwing eggs to deface it

Black-clad activists take aim at the Chinese Liaison office throwing eggs to deface it

Protesters threw eggs at the building and spray-painted its surrounding surveillance cameras. China’s national emblem, which adorns the front of the Liaison Office, was splattered with black ink.

Organisers said 430,000 people participated in the march. Police had yet to release their estimate, which is generally lower.   

Marching in sweltering heat and humidity of around 85F (30C),  protesters dressed in black walked behind a large banner reading ‘Independent Inquiry for Rule of Law’.  

The black-clad activists, many wearing masks, defied police orders and marched beyond the official end-point of a rally that took place earlier in the day to make their way toward Beijing’s Liaison Office, close to the heart of the financial centre.

When asked if the protesters would attempt to force entry into the building, one 30-year-old man dressed head to toe in black, said, ‘No,’ as he mimicked a throat-slitting action.

Protesters threw eggs at the building and spray-painted its surrounding surveillance camera. Hundreds held up umbrellas

Protesters threw eggs at the building and spray-painted its surrounding surveillance camera. Hundreds held up umbrellas

Protesters threw eggs at the building and spray-painted its surrounding surveillance camera. Hundreds held up umbrellas

The black-clad activists, many wearing masks, defied police orders and marched beyond the official end-point of a rally that took place earlier in the day to make their way toward Beijing's Liaison Office, close to the heart of the financial centre

The black-clad activists, many wearing masks, defied police orders and marched beyond the official end-point of a rally that took place earlier in the day to make their way toward Beijing's Liaison Office, close to the heart of the financial centre

The black-clad activists, many wearing masks, defied police orders and marched beyond the official end-point of a rally that took place earlier in the day to make their way toward Beijing’s Liaison Office, close to the heart of the financial centre

‘That would be the death of Hong Kong,’ he added.

Some protesters pelted eggs at the walls of the Liaison Office, while others spray-painted graffiti in a direct challenge to the Communist Party in Beijing.

Hundreds of riot police took up positions close to the Liaison Office. Nearby, activists daubed graffiti on massive concrete pillars leading up to it, with the words ‘Restore Hong Kong, Revolution of Time.’  

Sunday’s protest, which had proceeded peacefully along the police-mandated route, is the latest in a wave of unrest that has plunged the Asian financial hub into political crisis.

When asked if the protesters would attempt to force entry into the building, one 30-year-old man dressed head to toe in black, said, 'No,' as he mimicked a throat-slitting action. Pictured: A protester in Wan Chai holds a sign denouncing police violence during a march against a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong

When asked if the protesters would attempt to force entry into the building, one 30-year-old man dressed head to toe in black, said, 'No,' as he mimicked a throat-slitting action. Pictured: A protester in Wan Chai holds a sign denouncing police violence during a march against a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong

When asked if the protesters would attempt to force entry into the building, one 30-year-old man dressed head to toe in black, said, ‘No,’ as he mimicked a throat-slitting action. Pictured: A protester in Wan Chai holds a sign denouncing police violence during a march against a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong

Hundreds of riot police took up positions close to the Liaison Office. Nearby, activists daubed graffiti on massive concrete pillars leading up to it, with the words 'Restore Hong Kong, Revolution of Time.

Hundreds of riot police took up positions close to the Liaison Office. Nearby, activists daubed graffiti on massive concrete pillars leading up to it, with the words 'Restore Hong Kong, Revolution of Time.

Hundreds of riot police took up positions close to the Liaison Office. Nearby, activists daubed graffiti on massive concrete pillars leading up to it, with the words ‘Restore Hong Kong, Revolution of Time.

Some held up banners that said, ‘LIAR’ and ‘No excuse Carrie Lame’. A poster plastered on a lamppost called for an ‘Investigation on police brutality’.    

Many ignored the official end-point of the rally as the demonstrations show no sign of let-up, posing the greatest popular challenge to Chinese leader Xi Jinping since he took power in 2012.

Authorities used blue and white water-filled barriers to barricade government and police headquarters, while global bank HSBC, in a rare move, pulled down large metal barriers on the street level of its gleaming skyscraper building.

Sunday's protest, which had proceeded peacefully along the police-mandated route, is the latest in a wave of unrest that has plunged the Asian financial hub into political crisis. Pictured: Anti-extradition demonstrators crosse the barrier onto a main road during a march to call for democratic reforms

Sunday's protest, which had proceeded peacefully along the police-mandated route, is the latest in a wave of unrest that has plunged the Asian financial hub into political crisis. Pictured: Anti-extradition demonstrators crosse the barrier onto a main road during a march to call for democratic reforms

Sunday’s protest, which had proceeded peacefully along the police-mandated route, is the latest in a wave of unrest that has plunged the Asian financial hub into political crisis. Pictured: Anti-extradition demonstrators crosse the barrier onto a main road during a march to call for democratic reforms

Many ignored the official end-point of the rally as the demonstrations show no sign of let-up, posing the greatest popular challenge to Chinese leader Xi Jinping since he took power in 2012.

Many ignored the official end-point of the rally as the demonstrations show no sign of let-up, posing the greatest popular challenge to Chinese leader Xi Jinping since he took power in 2012.

Many ignored the official end-point of the rally as the demonstrations show no sign of let-up, posing the greatest popular challenge to Chinese leader Xi Jinping since he took power in 2012.

Authorities used blue and white water-filled barriers to barricade government and police headquarters

Authorities used blue and white water-filled barriers to barricade government and police headquarters

Authorities used blue and white water-filled barriers to barricade government and police headquarters

Protesters carry traffic cones as they attempt to block off a road in the financial hub

Protesters carry traffic cones as they attempt to block off a road in the financial hub

Protesters carry traffic cones as they attempt to block off a road in the financial hub

Protesters occupy Harcourt Road as they march against a controversial extradition bill. While most of the rallies have passed off peacefully, some have erupted into violence late at night when more radical protesters have clashed with police

Protesters occupy Harcourt Road as they march against a controversial extradition bill. While most of the rallies have passed off peacefully, some have erupted into violence late at night when more radical protesters have clashed with police

Protesters occupy Harcourt Road as they march against a controversial extradition bill. While most of the rallies have passed off peacefully, some have erupted into violence late at night when more radical protesters have clashed with police

The city's police force has come under scrutiny after officers fired rubber bullets and tear gas last month to disperse demonstrators in some of the worst violence to roil Hong Kong in decades

The city's police force has come under scrutiny after officers fired rubber bullets and tear gas last month to disperse demonstrators in some of the worst violence to roil Hong Kong in decades

The city’s police force has come under scrutiny after officers fired rubber bullets and tear gas last month to disperse demonstrators in some of the worst violence to roil Hong Kong in decades

The police are struggling to cope amid haphazard decision-making, worsening morale and anger among rank-and-file officers that they are taking the public heat for government unpopularity, serving and retired officers, politicians and security analysts have said

The police are struggling to cope amid haphazard decision-making, worsening morale and anger among rank-and-file officers that they are taking the public heat for government unpopularity, serving and retired officers, politicians and security analysts have said

The police are struggling to cope amid haphazard decision-making, worsening morale and anger among rank-and-file officers that they are taking the public heat for government unpopularity, serving and retired officers, politicians and security analysts have said

While most of the rallies have passed off peacefully, some have erupted into violence late at night when more radical protesters have clashed with police.

The city’s police force has come under scrutiny after officers fired rubber bullets and tear gas last month to disperse demonstrators in some of the worst violence to roil Hong Kong in decades.

The police are struggling to cope amid haphazard decision-making, worsening morale and anger among rank-and-file officers that they are taking the public heat for government unpopularity, serving and retired officers, politicians and security analysts have said.

A protester wearing a badge participates in a march against a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong

A protester wearing a badge participates in a march against a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong

A protester wearing a badge participates in a march against a controversial extradition bill in Hong Kong 

The latest protest comes a day after tens of thousands gathered to voice support for the police, whom some have accused of using excessive force against activists, and demand an end to the violence

The latest protest comes a day after tens of thousands gathered to voice support for the police, whom some have accused of using excessive force against activists, and demand an end to the violence

The latest protest comes a day after tens of thousands gathered to voice support for the police, whom some have accused of using excessive force against activists, and demand an end to the violence

Sunday's march focused on calls for the full withdrawal of the extradition bill, which would allow people to be extradited to mainland China for trial, and an independent investigation into complaints of police brutality

Sunday's march focused on calls for the full withdrawal of the extradition bill, which would allow people to be extradited to mainland China for trial, and an independent investigation into complaints of police brutality

Sunday’s march focused on calls for the full withdrawal of the extradition bill, which would allow people to be extradited to mainland China for trial, and an independent investigation into complaints of police brutality

Other demands include charges against protesters to be dropped and universal suffrage. 'I came back to Hong Kong this summer because of the protests,' said Mandy Ko, 27, who is originally from Hong Kong and now lives in Australia. 'My spirit is still with Hong Kong people.'

Other demands include charges against protesters to be dropped and universal suffrage. 'I came back to Hong Kong this summer because of the protests,' said Mandy Ko, 27, who is originally from Hong Kong and now lives in Australia. 'My spirit is still with Hong Kong people.'

Other demands include charges against protesters to be dropped and universal suffrage. ‘I came back to Hong Kong this summer because of the protests,’ said Mandy Ko, 27, who is originally from Hong Kong and now lives in Australia. ‘My spirit is still with Hong Kong people.’

People stand on governmental building and record an anti-extradition demonstrators marching to call for democratic reforms

People stand on governmental building and record an anti-extradition demonstrators marching to call for democratic reforms

People stand on governmental building and record an anti-extradition demonstrators marching to call for democratic reforms,

Protesters gesture while holding placards reads "Form an independent investigation on legislative committee" during a march in Hong Kong

Protesters gesture while holding placards reads "Form an independent investigation on legislative committee" during a march in Hong Kong

Protesters gesture while holding placards reads ‘Form an independent investigation on legislative committee’ during a march in Hong Kong

The organiser of the march, the Civil Human Rights Front, is urging the government to set up an independent commission of inquiry to be led by a judge, to look into the policing of recent extradition protests

The organiser of the march, the Civil Human Rights Front, is urging the government to set up an independent commission of inquiry to be led by a judge, to look into the policing of recent extradition protests

The organiser of the march, the Civil Human Rights Front, is urging the government to set up an independent commission of inquiry to be led by a judge, to look into the policing of recent extradition protests

The Front originally planned to march from Victoria Park to the Court of Final Appeal in Central but the police said the march must end in Wan Chai instead for public safety reasons

The Front originally planned to march from Victoria Park to the Court of Final Appeal in Central but the police said the march must end in Wan Chai instead for public safety reasons

The Front originally planned to march from Victoria Park to the Court of Final Appeal in Central but the police said the march must end in Wan Chai instead for public safety reasons

China's national emblem, which adorns the front of the Liaison Office, was splattered with black ink

China's national emblem, which adorns the front of the Liaison Office, was splattered with black ink

China’s national emblem, which adorns the front of the Liaison Office, was splattered with black ink

Anti-extradition demonstrators run to barricade the road against the polic

Anti-extradition demonstrators run to barricade the road against the polic

Anti-extradition demonstrators run to barricade the road against the polic

A protester holds flowers while standing in front of riot police near the Chinese liaison officers

A protester holds flowers while standing in front of riot police near the Chinese liaison officers

A protester holds flowers while standing in front of riot police near the Chinese liaison officers

A protester waves the US and Hong Kong flags as demonstrators occupy a road during a march

A protester waves the US and Hong Kong flags as demonstrators occupy a road during a march

A protester waves the US and Hong Kong flags as demonstrators occupy a road during a march

The latest protest comes a day after tens of thousands gathered to voice support for the police, whom some have accused of using excessive force against activists, and demand an end to the violence.

Sunday’s march focused on calls for the full withdrawal of the extradition bill, which would allow people to be extradited to mainland China for trial, and an independent investigation into complaints of police brutality.

Other demands include charges against protesters to be dropped and universal suffrage.

‘I came back to Hong Kong this summer because of the protests,’ said Mandy Ko, 27, who is originally from Hong Kong and now lives in Australia.

‘My spirit is still with Hong Kong people.’

It's believed almost half a million people marched in Hong Kong today, on the eighth week of protests in the Asian city

It's believed almost half a million people marched in Hong Kong today, on the eighth week of protests in the Asian city

It’s believed almost half a million people marched in Hong Kong today, on the eighth week of protests in the Asian city

Protesters carry US flags, masks and suitcases as they join 430,000 others to march

Protesters carry US flags, masks and suitcases as they join 430,000 others to march

Protesters carry US flags, masks and suitcases as they join 430,000 others to march 

A protester carries umbrellas in his arms as they occupy a section of Harcourt Road close to the legislative Council taking part in a rally in Hong Kong

A protester carries umbrellas in his arms as they occupy a section of Harcourt Road close to the legislative Council taking part in a rally in Hong Kong

A protester carries umbrellas in his arms as they occupy a section of Harcourt Road close to the legislative Council taking part in a rally in Hong Kong

An anti-extradition demonstrator throws an egg at a police station

An anti-extradition demonstrator throws an egg at a police station

An anti-extradition demonstrator throws an egg at a police station

Protesters hold up signs and umbrellas as they march through the city

Protesters hold up signs and umbrellas as they march through the city

Protesters hold up signs and umbrellas as they march through the city

A person writes a message on a placard outside the Central Government Offices as anti-extradition demonstrators marc

A person writes a message on a placard outside the Central Government Offices as anti-extradition demonstrators marc

A person writes a message on a placard outside the Central Government Offices as anti-extradition demonstrators marc

A person writes a message on a placard outside the Central Government Offices. It reads 'No extradition to China' written in Chinese and English

A person writes a message on a placard outside the Central Government Offices. It reads 'No extradition to China' written in Chinese and English

A person writes a message on a placard outside the Central Government Offices. It reads ‘No extradition to China’ written in Chinese and English

Protesters attempt to block off a road

Protesters attempt to block off a road

Protesters attempt to block off a road

Officers stand guard in front of Central Government Offices as anti-extradition demonstrators march to call for democratic reforms

Officers stand guard in front of Central Government Offices as anti-extradition demonstrators march to call for democratic reforms

Officers stand guard in front of Central Government Offices as anti-extradition demonstrators march to call for democratic reforms

HUndreds of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong kicked off a march from a public park this morning to call for an independent investigation into police tactics with seemingly no end in sight to the turmoil engulfing the finance hub, sparked by years of rising anger over Beijing's rule

HUndreds of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong kicked off a march from a public park this morning to call for an independent investigation into police tactics with seemingly no end in sight to the turmoil engulfing the finance hub, sparked by years of rising anger over Beijing's rule

HUndreds of thousands of protesters in Hong Kong kicked off a march from a public park this morning to call for an independent investigation into police tactics with seemingly no end in sight to the turmoil engulfing the finance hub, sparked by years of rising anger over Beijing’s rule

Marching in sweltering heat and humidity of around 85F, protesters dressed in black walked behind a large banner reading 'Independent Inquiry for Rule of Law'

Marching in sweltering heat and humidity of around 85F, protesters dressed in black walked behind a large banner reading 'Independent Inquiry for Rule of Law'

Marching in sweltering heat and humidity of around 85F, protesters dressed in black walked behind a large banner reading ‘Independent Inquiry for Rule of Law’

Massive pro-democracy protests began last month in opposition to a contentious extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to stand trial in mainland China, where critics say their rights would be compromised

Massive pro-democracy protests began last month in opposition to a contentious extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to stand trial in mainland China, where critics say their rights would be compromised

Massive pro-democracy protests began last month in opposition to a contentious extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to stand trial in mainland China, where critics say their rights would be compromised

Massive pro-democracy protests began last month in opposition to a contentious extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to stand trial in mainland China, where critics say their rights would be compromised. 

The city’s leader has declared the bill dead, but some protesters are also calling for her to resign amid growing concerns about the steady erosion of civil rights in the Chinese territory.

The demonstrations have since ballooned into calls for democratic reforms and an investigation into alleged police brutality.

 The city has been plunged into its worst crisis in recent history by weeks of marches and sporadic violent confrontations between police and pockets of hardcore protesters.

The initial protests were lit by a now-suspended bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. But they have since evolved into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms, universal suffrage and a halt to sliding freedoms in the semi-autonomous territory.

The city's leader has declared the bill dead, but some protesters are also calling for her to resign amid growing concerns about the steady erosion of civil rights in the Chinese territory. Pictured: A woman watches protesters march

The city's leader has declared the bill dead, but some protesters are also calling for her to resign amid growing concerns about the steady erosion of civil rights in the Chinese territory. Pictured: A woman watches protesters march

The city’s leader has declared the bill dead, but some protesters are also calling for her to resign amid growing concerns about the steady erosion of civil rights in the Chinese territory. Pictured: A woman watches protesters march

The demonstrations (pictured) have since ballooned into calls for democratic reforms and an investigation into alleged police brutality

The demonstrations (pictured) have since ballooned into calls for democratic reforms and an investigation into alleged police brutality

The demonstrations (pictured) have since ballooned into calls for democratic reforms and an investigation into alleged police brutality

Police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets, while the parliament has been trashed by protesters as Beijing’s authority faces its most serious challenge since Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997.

Sunday’s rally is the seventh weekend in-a-row that residents have come out en-masse.

Anita Poon, 35, said she decided to join for the first time after watching a rally by elderly people earlier in the week.

‘When even the grannies are coming out, how can we just watch this on TV?’ she said.

‘The government has not responded to the voices of the people, that’s why this keeps happening,’ she added.

The city has been plunged into its worst crisis in recent history by weeks of marches and sporadic violent confrontations between police and pockets of hardcore protesters. Pictured: Police officers stand guard at a blockade during as anti-extradition demonstrators march to call for democratic reform

The city has been plunged into its worst crisis in recent history by weeks of marches and sporadic violent confrontations between police and pockets of hardcore protesters. Pictured: Police officers stand guard at a blockade during as anti-extradition demonstrators march to call for democratic reform

The city has been plunged into its worst crisis in recent history by weeks of marches and sporadic violent confrontations between police and pockets of hardcore protesters. Pictured: Police officers stand guard at a blockade during as anti-extradition demonstrators march to call for democratic reform

The initial protests were lit by a now-suspended bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. Pictured: Protesters take part in a march today

The initial protests were lit by a now-suspended bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. Pictured: Protesters take part in a march today

The initial protests were lit by a now-suspended bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. Pictured: Protesters take part in a march today

Protests  have since evolved into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms, universal suffrage and a halt to sliding freedoms in the semi-autonomous territory

Protests  have since evolved into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms, universal suffrage and a halt to sliding freedoms in the semi-autonomous territory

Protests  have since evolved into a wider movement calling for democratic reforms, universal suffrage and a halt to sliding freedoms in the semi-autonomous territory

Generally the marches have passed off peacefully, but some have been followed by violence between riot police and small groups of more hardcore protesters who feel years of peaceful demonstrations have achieved little.

Security was tightened in the city centre, with metal street fencing often used by protesters to build barricades removed ahead of the march, and large water-filled barriers thrown up around the police headquarters.  

The huge crowds have had little luck persuading the city’s unelected leaders — or Beijing — to change tack on the hub’s future.

Under the 1997 handover deal with Britain, China promised to allow Hong Kong to keep key liberties such as its independent judiciary and freedom of speech.

Police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets, while the parliament has been trashed by protesters as Beijing's authority faces its most serious challenge since Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997. Today's rally is the seventh weekend in-a-row that residents have come out en-masse

Police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets, while the parliament has been trashed by protesters as Beijing's authority faces its most serious challenge since Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997. Today's rally is the seventh weekend in-a-row that residents have come out en-masse

Police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets, while the parliament has been trashed by protesters as Beijing’s authority faces its most serious challenge since Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997. Today’s rally is the seventh weekend in-a-row that residents have come out en-masse

But many say those provisions are already being curtailed, citing the disappearance into mainland custody of dissident booksellers, the disqualification of prominent politicians and the jailing of pro-democracy protest leaders.

Authorities have also resisted calls for the city’s leader to be directly elected by the people.

Protesters have vowed to keep their movement going until their core demands are met, such as the resignation of city leader Carrie Lam, an independent inquiry into police tactics, amnesty and a permanent withdrawal of the bill.

They have also begun calling once more for universal suffrage.

Yet there is little sign that either Lam or Beijing is willing to budge.

Generally the marches have passed off peacefully, but some have been followed by violence between riot police and small groups of more hardcore protesters who feel years of peaceful demonstrations have achieved little

Generally the marches have passed off peacefully, but some have been followed by violence between riot police and small groups of more hardcore protesters who feel years of peaceful demonstrations have achieved little

Generally the marches have passed off peacefully, but some have been followed by violence between riot police and small groups of more hardcore protesters who feel years of peaceful demonstrations have achieved little

Security was tightened in the city centre, with metal street fencing often used by protesters to build barricades removed ahead of the march, and large water-filled barriers thrown up around the police headquarters

Security was tightened in the city centre, with metal street fencing often used by protesters to build barricades removed ahead of the march, and large water-filled barriers thrown up around the police headquarters

Security was tightened in the city centre, with metal street fencing often used by protesters to build barricades removed ahead of the march, and large water-filled barriers thrown up around the police headquarters

Beyond agreeing to suspend the extradition bill there has been few other concessions and fears are rising that Beijing’s patience is running out.

Earlier this week the South China Morning Post reported that Beijing was drawing up a plan to deal with Hong Kong, citing sources on the mainland.

The details published suggested little appetite to defuse public anger over sliding freedoms and instead focused on shoring up support for Lam and the police.

A group of prominent activists from the leaderless movement read out a manifesto ahead of the march detailing protesters’ frustrations — the same words that were read out during the July 1 storming of the legislature.

The huge crowds have had little luck persuading the city's unelected leaders -- or Beijing -- to change tack on the hub's future

The huge crowds have had little luck persuading the city's unelected leaders -- or Beijing -- to change tack on the hub's future

Under the 1997 handover deal with Britain, China promised to allow Hong Kong to keep key liberties such as its independent judiciary and freedom of speech

Under the 1997 handover deal with Britain, China promised to allow Hong Kong to keep key liberties such as its independent judiciary and freedom of speech

The huge crowds have had little luck persuading the city’s unelected leaders — or Beijing — to change tack on the hub’s future. Under the 1997 handover deal with Britain, China promised to allow Hong Kong to keep key liberties such as its independent judiciary and freedom of speech

‘For too long our government has lied and deceived and refused to respond to the demands of the people despite numerous mass demonstrations of the past month,’ the activists said.

‘To compel the government to listen to its people, we as citizens have no choice but to carry out occupations (and) non-cooperative campaigns.’

On Saturday, the establishment mustered its own supporters in their tens of thousands for a rally, a gathering that was covered in detail by Chinese state media and pro-Beijing newspapers in Hong Kong.

Few see a political solution to the crisis on the horizon.

On Saturday, the establishment mustered its own supporters in their tens of thousands for a rally, a gathering that was covered in detail by Chinese state media and pro-Beijing newspapers in Hong Kong. Pictured: Anti-extradition demonstrators are seen through a "Lennon Wall" with memo cards supporting the anti-extradition bill protests, as they march to call for democratic reforms

On Saturday, the establishment mustered its own supporters in their tens of thousands for a rally, a gathering that was covered in detail by Chinese state media and pro-Beijing newspapers in Hong Kong. Pictured: Anti-extradition demonstrators are seen through a "Lennon Wall" with memo cards supporting the anti-extradition bill protests, as they march to call for democratic reforms

On Saturday, the establishment mustered its own supporters in their tens of thousands for a rally, a gathering that was covered in detail by Chinese state media and pro-Beijing newspapers in Hong Kong. Pictured: Anti-extradition demonstrators are seen through a ‘Lennon Wall’ with memo cards supporting the anti-extradition bill protests, as they march to call for democratic reforms

Steve Vickers, a former head of the police’s Criminal Investigation Bureau before the handover who now runs a risk consultancy, said the public order situation would likely ‘worsen’ in the coming weeks.

‘Polarisation within Hong Kong society and intense acrimony between protesters and police are deepening,’ he wrote in a note to clients.

‘The protests are settling into a pattern of peaceful demonstration culminating in deliberately orchestrated violence, before a lull in preparation for the next ‘battle’.’

Tensions have been further stoked after police on Saturday said they had discovered a homemade laboratory making high-powered explosives.

A 27-year-old man was arrested and pro-independence materials were also discovered.

Steve Vickers, a former head of the police's Criminal Investigation Bureau before the handover who now runs a risk consultancy, said the public order situation would likely 'worsen' in the coming weeks. Pictured: Protesters today

Steve Vickers, a former head of the police's Criminal Investigation Bureau before the handover who now runs a risk consultancy, said the public order situation would likely 'worsen' in the coming weeks. Pictured: Protesters today

Steve Vickers, a former head of the police’s Criminal Investigation Bureau before the handover who now runs a risk consultancy, said the public order situation would likely ‘worsen’ in the coming weeks. Pictured: Protesters today

Police officers use chains to lock the barricades outside the Police Headquarters as protesters march on a street in Hong Kong

Police officers use chains to lock the barricades outside the Police Headquarters as protesters march on a street in Hong Kong

Police officers use chains to lock the barricades outside the Police Headquarters as protesters march on a street in Hong Kong

Why is Hong Kong’s extradition law fueling protests?

Hong Kong’s government has indefinitely suspended the debate on an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial for the first time, after chaotic protests by tens of thousands of people.

Hong Kong residents, as well as foreign and Chinese nationals living or traveling through the global financial hub, would all be at risk if they are wanted on the mainland.

Pro-establishment political forces are dominant in the Legislative Council and the bill is expected to be passed by the end of the month.

WHAT DOES THE EXTRADITION BILL INVOLVE?

Protesters march along a downtown street against the proposed amendments to an extradition law in Hong Kong on Sunday last week

Protesters march along a downtown street against the proposed amendments to an extradition law in Hong Kong on Sunday last week

Protesters march along a downtown street against the proposed amendments to an extradition law in Hong Kong on Sunday last week

The Hong Kong government first launched the proposals in February, putting forward sweeping changes that would simplify case-by-case extraditions of criminal suspects to countries beyond the 20 with which Hong Kong has existing extradition treaties.

It explicitly allows extraditions from Hong Kong to greater China – including the mainland, Taiwan and Macau – for the first time, closing what Hong Kong government officials have repeatedly described as a ‘loophole’ that they claim has allowed the city to become a haven for criminals from the mainland.

Hong Kong’s leader would start and finally approve an extradition following a request from a foreign jurisdiction but only after court hearings, including any possible appeals. However, the bill removes Legislative Council oversight of extradition arrangements.

WHY IS THE HONG KONG GOVERNMENT PUSHING IT NOW?

Officials initially seized on the murder last year of a young Hong Kong woman holidaying in Taiwan to justify swift changes. Police say her boyfriend confessed on his return to Hong Kong and he is now in jail on lesser money-laundering charges.

Taiwan authorities have strongly opposed the bill, which they say could leave Taiwanese citizens exposed in Hong Kong and have vowed to refuse taking back the murder suspect if the bill is passed.

A long-forgotten issue, the need for an eventual extradition deal with the mainland was acknowledged by government officials and experts ahead of Hong Kong’s handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997 under the ‘one country, two systems’ model.

The city maintains a separate and independent legal system as part of the broader freedoms the formula guarantees. Little progress has been made in discreet talks since then with justice and security officials on the mainland, where the Communist Party still controls the courts.

HOW STRONG IS OPPOSITION TO THE BILL?

Protest placards and flowers are displayed during a demonstration in Hong Kong on June 11  to demand authorities scrap a proposed extradition bill with China

Protest placards and flowers are displayed during a demonstration in Hong Kong on June 11  to demand authorities scrap a proposed extradition bill with China

Protest placards and flowers are displayed during a demonstration in Hong Kong on June 11  to demand authorities scrap a proposed extradition bill with China

Concern about the amendments has spiraled in recent weeks, taking in pro-business and pro-Beijing elements usually loath to publicly contradict the Hong Kong or Chinese governments. 

Senior Hong Kong judges have privately expressed alarm, and mainland commercial lawyers based in Hong Kong have echoed their fears, saying the mainland system cannot be trusted to meet even basic standards of judicial fairness. Hong Kong lawyers’ groups have issued detailed submissions to the government, hoping to force a postponement.

Authorities have repeatedly stressed that judges will serve as ‘gatekeepers’ or guardians for extradition requests. However, some judges say privately that China’s increasingly close relationship with Hong Kong and the limited scope of extradition hearings will leave them exposed to criticism and political pressure from Beijing.

Schools, lawyers and church groups have joined human rights groups to protest against the measures. Following a brawl in the legislature over the bill, the government moved to fast-track the bill by scrapping established legislative procedures that stoked outrage amongst critics.

Police officers stand guard outside the Legislative Council building as people protest the extradition bill with China in Hong Kong on the night of June 11

Police officers stand guard outside the Legislative Council building as people protest the extradition bill with China in Hong Kong on the night of June 11

Police officers stand guard outside the Legislative Council building as people protest the extradition bill with China in Hong Kong on the night of June 11

Foreign political and diplomatic pressure over human rights concerns is rising, too. As well as recent statements from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his British and German counterparts, some 11 European Union envoys met Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam to protest formally.

‘It’s a proposal, or a set of proposals, which strike a terrible blow … against the rule of law, against Hong Kong’s stability and security, against Hong Kong’s position as a great international trading hub,’ Hong Kong’s last British governor, Chris Patten, said on Thursday.

Some opposition politicians say the issue now represents a turning point for the city’s free status.

 

link

(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)

Leave a Reply