Published: Mon, June 17, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Freed Hong Kong democracy activist joins mass calls for leader to quit

Freed Hong Kong democracy activist joins mass calls for leader to quit

Many in Hong Kong are also upset by the creeping authoritarianism in the city, after they were promised autonomy when the territory was given back to China from the United Kingdom in 1997.

Lam avoided answering questions about whether she would yield to some protesters' demands that she resign, requesting that citizens "give us another chance".

Videos and photographs of the millions of people marching through the streets of the former British colony on Sunday show the massive swell of people packed in between skyscrapers.

"What we ask for is such urge Carrie Lam the evil chief executive should withdraw the extradition amendment".

Hundreds were lying or sitting on the roads until they agreed to move to the plaza outside the government building and a spacious nearby park.

Activists had called on Hong Kong residents to boycott classes and work, though it was unclear how many might heed that call.

A large-scale march, which organisers said drew more than one million people, was held last Sunday. "She stays on, we stay on", said pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo.

Sunday's march looked likely to match in scale one a week earlier that brought as many as 1 million people out to express their concern over Hong Kong's relations with mainland China.

One of the activists arrested after those demonstrations, Joshua Wong, was released from prison Monday after serving half of a two-month jail sentence for contempt.

He told journalists that he needed a bit of time but that "no matter what happens, I will join the protest soon".

Protesters return to Admiralty, Hong Kong, on June 16, 2019.

The English-language China Daily reported on Monday (June 17) that Hong Kong parents took to the streets on Sunday in order to urge USA politicians against interference in the city's extradition amendments - raising the eyebrows of China watchers after posting the story to its official Twitter account.

The demonstrators carried banners demanding that Chief Executive Carrie Lam step down and repeatedly broke into chants.

The Civil Human Rights Front, which is organising the rallies, has called on Lam to resign, shelve the bill permanently and apologise for police using tear gas and rubber bullets on Wednesday. That worsens the potential legal consequences for those involved. (Gang Yu/The Epoch Times) Unsatisfied with the government's suspension of the controversial extradition bill, an estimated almost 2 million Hong Kongers took the streets on Sunday, June 16, to demand the bill's full retraction and Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam's resignation.

A text-only statement from a government spokesperson was released, saying "the Chief Executive apologizes to the public and promises to accept criticism with the utmost sincerity and humility, to improve and serve the general public". Lam hoped this would be enough to dissipate public anger, saying, "This is time to restore as quickly as possible calmness in society".

The opposition Civil Human Rights Front, a loose organization of anti-extradition and anti-establishment leaders, quickly released its own statement: "This is a total insult". Protesters focused their anger on Lam, even while acknowledging that she had little choice but to carry through dictates issued by Beijing, where President Xi Jinping has enforced increasingly authoritarian rule.

"I'm really sad. I'm grieving", said one visitor, Peron Kwong, after tying a white ribbon to a street rail.

Lam said her immediate resignation was unlikely as there was no clear successor, but her tenure is effectively over as a leader with any clout.

POLITICAL CRISIS The protests have plunged Hong Kong into political crisis, just as months of pro-democracy "Occupy" demonstrations did in 2014, heaping pressure on Lam's administration and her official backers in Beijing. Claudia Mo, from the right-wing chauvinist Hong Kong First party has postured as a radical opponent of Lam and the extradition bill. The proposed bill would expand the scope of criminal suspect transfers to include Taiwan, Macau and mainland China.

Under the 1997 handover deal signed with Britain, China agreed to allow Hong Kong to keep unique liberties such as freedom of speech and its hugely successful independent common law courts for 50 years. A spokesperson for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of China's State Council stated, "We support, respect and understand the decision (to postpone the bill)".

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