Hong Kong activists are calling for renewed protests with an even bigger turnout this weekend after police yesterday fired tear gas and rubber bullets in an attempt to quell demonstrations amid a spiraling political crisis.
Opponents of a bill that would allow extradition to mainland China will join a mass march at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, followed by a strike the next day.
“Even with brutal police force and the government’s orders for the violence, Hong Kong will never give up,” says Jimmy Sham, convener of the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), the group organizing the march.
CHRF is calling for protesters to once again convene at Victoria Park in an echo of the massive march that began there last Sunday and saw an estimated 1 million people rally against the extradition bill and Beijing’s tightening grip on the semiautonomous territory.
“We had 1.03 million people come out on Sunday. This time, we will have more,” Sham said at a press conference Thursday.
The financial hub has been seized by an enormous backlash to the government’s attempts to fast-track legislation that critics fear will undermine the city’s civil liberties and effectively enforce China’s judicial system. In 1997, the former British colony was handed back to China under an agreement that promised to respect the city’s autonomy and independent judiciary.
Beijing’s hand-picked Chief Executive for Hong Kong, Carrie Lam, refuses to back down from the proposed extradition bill, despite the mass public mobilization against it.
The battle over extradition erupted in violent clashes Wednesday afternoon as police attempted to forcibly disperse demonstrators swarming the city’s legislature and barricading major boulevards. Over 70 people were reportedly injured in the skirmishes that seized the city center.
The protesters won a partial victory by forcing lawmakers to postpone a reading of the hated extradition bill until further notice. Ultimately, they hope to see the bill withdrawn, but Lam remains as steadfast as her opponents.
“If all of us come out, we can win,” says Sham.
Powered by WPeMatico