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Hong Kong Students Resume Protests, Snarling Downtown T...

Newsdeck

Newsdeck

Hong Kong Students Resume Protests, Snarling Downtown Traffic

A protesters points a finger at police during rally outside Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam's office building, in Hong Kong, China, 17 June 2019. China's Central Government reiterated its backing of Lam on the day, after a massive demonstration on 16 June demanding that she resign over a controversial extradition bill. EPA-EFE/JEROME FAVRE
By Bloomberg
21 Jun 2019 0

Hong Kong protesters blocked some roads outside the government’s downtown headquarters after resuming demonstrations to demand Chief Executive Carrie Lam step down.

Thousands of demonstrators mostly wearing black blocked key roads near the Central Government Offices on Friday. The government temporarily closed the building and canceled a meeting of the Legislative Council’s transport panel. There was a very light police presence in the area.

Historic protests in the past few weeks, including several that turned violent, prompted Lam to suspend the bill indefinitely and apologize to the city’s 7.5 million people. The episode has embarrassed the central government in Beijing, which has continued to back Lam’s administration.

Interactive: How Hong Kong Got a Million Protesters Out on the Streets

The bill is a “thoroughly bad idea,” Martin Lee, founding chairman of the opposition Democratic Party and an elder statesman among city democrats, told Bloomberg Television on Friday. “Hong Kong people can only continue to demonstrate, and I hope peacefully, so that the world, the rest of the world, will speak up for us.”

At one point, some protesters outside the government headquarters Friday formed a line of open umbrellas on the ground. People used umbrellas to protect themselves from pepper spray fired by police last week, and in mass pro-democracy demonstrations five years ago that became known as the “Umbrella Movement.”

Justice Secretary Teresa Cheng apologized to the people of Hong Kong Friday in an official blog post, saying there had been “deficiencies” in authorities’ explanations of the bill. “The government has learned a hard lesson, but we remain hopeful that the experience gained will help us work better to meet the public’s expectations in future,” she wrote.

Police Tactics
Security chief John Lee has defended his personnel, saying they acted in defense against protesters who charged a police line blocking the city’s legislature in an attempt to storm the building. Some battled with riot police throughout the afternoon to prevent lawmakers from debating the controversial extradition bill.

Earlier: Hong Kong Police Tactics Under Fire as Legislature Resumes

The Civil Human Rights Front — which helped organize a week of historic demonstrations but was not overseeing Friday’s gathering — made an investigation into what it calls excessive violence and abuse of power by the police a major demand of a historic protest Sunday that it said brought 2 million people onto the streets.

Lam and police commissioner Stephen Lo have stood by the police’s behavior. Lam told reporters Tuesday that “throughout, whether it is on Wednesday evening or today standing here, my position is totally aligned with the Commissioner of Police.” DM

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