In what has been hailed the largest protest in the country’s history, nearly 2 million people have gathered in the streets of Hong Kong to protest against a controversial extradition bill.
Whilst leaders claim the treaty would prevent Hong Kong from becoming a ‘safe haven for criminals’, a large part of the Hong Kong population reckon the treaty marks the gradual demise of Hong Kong’s independent judicial system. Many are turning up to the protests out of fear that the treaty will inevitably expose Hong Kong to China’s ‘deeply flawed’ judicial system.
As well as demanding the bill be revoked, protestors were also demanding that Carrie Lam (frontrunner for the bill and Chief Executive of Hong Kong) step down from office immediately.
— Jeffie Lam (@jeffielam) June 16, 2019
Largest Protest In Hong Kong’s History
BREAKING: Organisers have announced a turnout estimate of “close to two million,” nearly doubling that of last Sunday’s rally and making it the largest protest in Hong Kong’s history. Police have yet to release their figure.
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) June 16, 2019
What do Hong Kong’s biggest demonstrations since the UK to China handover look like?
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) June 16, 2019
— Stephen McDonell (@StephenMcDonell) June 16, 2019
By no means an official count, but I’ve just interviewed a photographer who has been covering protests in Hong Kong since before the umbrella movement.
His best estimate for tonight’s protest:
— Hamish Macdonald (@hamishNews) June 16, 2019
The Bill Has Been Indefinitely Shelved
The astonishing turnout on Hong Kong’s streets did in fact prompt Carrie Lam to issue an apology to Hong Kong. In the statement, Lam apologised for prompting huge disapproval and unrest throughout Hong Kong.
“The chief executive apologises to the people of Hong Kong for this and pledges to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticisms and make improvements in serving the public,” it said.
Despite her apology and subsequent halting of the bill, the people of Hong Kong remain dissatisfied until their initial demands are met. Until the bill is permanently scrapped and Lam officially steps down, it’s expected that widespread protests and dissatisfaction will continue.
Protestors Are Supported With Free Water And Face Masks
— Laurel Chor (@laurelchor) June 16, 2019
Protests Are Also Occurring Beyond The Streets
— Tom Grundy (@tomgrundy) June 15, 2019
Hong Kong is certainly in the midst of an extremely significant turning point in their political history. Whilst their trajectory may not be certain, it’s empowering to witness such unwavering power among the people.
Sources: @tomgrundy, @laurelchor, @hamishNews, @StephenMcDonell, @ianbremmer, @HongKongFP, @jeffielam.