Hong Kong police fired tear gas to evict anti-government protesters who had stormed and ransacked parliament.
Hundreds of demonstrators stormed into Hong Kong’s legislature after smashing their way in as the crisis that has gripped the semi-autonomous Chinese territory for weeks rapidly intensified.
After the protesters spent hours inside the complex, destroying furniture and spray-painting graffiti, hundreds of riot police surrounded the building and fired tear gas at demonstrators outside.
On June 9, more than a million people marched against the bill, which they fear will allow China to encroach on rights in the territory.
Here are the latest updates.
Wednesday, July 3:
Hong Kong police arrest July 1 protesters
Police in Hong Kong said they had arrested 12 people in connection with incidents on July 1, although it was unclear if those arrested were among the protesters who smashed their way into the city’s legislature and ransacked the building.
Eleven men and one woman were taken into custody over a “violent incident,” the police said.
The police said they had also arrested six people linked to incidents the day before and eight others suspected of being involved in the illegal disclosure online of police officers’ private information.
UK summons Chinese ambassador over Hong Kong: ministry source
The UK Foreign Office summoned China’s ambassador following “unacceptable” comments he made over London’s criticism of the situation in Hong Kong, a ministry source told Reuters and AFP news agencies.
China tells UK ‘hands off’ Hong Kong
The UK should “refrain from further interference” in Hong Kong or risk “further damaging” its relationship with Beijing, the Chinese ambassador in London said.
“I do hope that the British government will realise the consequences and … refrain from further interference, from further damaging the relationship,” Liu Xiaoming told a press conference.
Liu added that the British seemed to have forgotten that Hong Kong was no longer a colony.
“Hands off Hong Kong and show respect,” he said.
UK FM Hunt tells China to honour HK agreement
The UK foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, told China that it needed to honour and respect the agreement the countries had made over Hong Kong.
“Message to the Chinese govt: good relations between countries are based on mutual respect and honouring the legally binding agreements between them,” Hunt said on Twitter.
“That is the best way to preserve the great relationship between the UK and China”.
Message to Chinese govt: good relations between countries are based on mutual respect and honouring the legally binding agreements between them. That is the best way to preserve the great relationship between the UK and China
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 3, 2019
UK’s Johnson backs Hong Kong protesters ‘every inch of the way’
Boris Johnson, former UK foreign minister and frontrunner to become the country’s next prime minister, said he backs Hong Kong protesters “every inch of the way” in their opposition to the extradition bill.
Johnson said the people of Hong Kong were “perfectly within their rights to be very sceptical, very anxious” about the controversial plans.
“That could be politically motivated, that could be arbitrary and could infringe on their human rights,” he said while campaigning.
Theresa May: ‘Vital’ that Hong Kong’s autonomy is respected
British Prime Minister Theresa May reiterated that it was “vital” that Beijing respects Hong Kong’s autonomy under the terms of the 1997 handover to Chinese rule.
“I have raised my concerns directly with Chinese leaders,” May told MPs at a weekly questions session in parliament.
Tuesday, July 2:
China says violent actions in Hong Kong an ‘undisguised challenge’: state TV
China has described the violent actions on Monday night of some Hong Kong protesters as an “undisguised challenge” to the ‘one country, two systems’ formula under which the city is governed, state television reported on Tuesday.
A representative from China’s Hong Kong affairs office condemned the violence, and said the government in Beijing would support the Hong Kong authorities in holding those responsible to account, the report said.
Clean-up underway after violent protests on Monday night
A clean-up was underway in the centre of Hong Kong on Tuesday morning after protesters ransacked the Legislative Council building the previous night.
The building itself was closed as police inspected the interior, which had been cordoned off and designated a “crime scene”, according to Al Jazeera’s Sarah Clarke in Hong Kong.
Workers have been clearing discarded umbrellas, streets signs and parts of fences that protesters had taken apart and used to force their way into the building.
Hong Kong’s veteran democratic politician says protests reflect frustrations
Martin Lee, the founding chairman of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party, said that while he could not defend the protesters’ violent actions on Monday night, he could understand their frustrations.
“I don’t like these ugly scenes; nobody likes them and I will not defend them,” he told Al Jazeera. “But I want people to know what brought about such acts of violence.”
The veteran politician, who helped draft the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, said he had spent 35 years trusting the Chinese government would deliver on democratic commitments to the people of Hong Kong.
The Basic Law was designed to ensure a high degree of autonomy for the territory for 50 years, and included that China would give Hong Kong people the vote and would not interfere in its affairs.
“These two important conditions, if fulfilled, would enable Hong Kong people to be masters of their own house and none of this would have happened,” Lee said.
“It was written into the Basic Law that we would have universal suffrage, 10 years after the handover. Now it’s 22 years and it’s nowhere in sight so you can see the frustration. I also feel frustrated, but I’m an 81-year-old man and I would not do such acts to get democracy but how can you blame these young people?”
‘Zero tolerance’ – China’s state media denounces protests
China’s Global Times on Tuesday called for ‘zero tolerance’ after protesters stormed and ransacked Hong Kong’s legislature.
Amid rising tension, Hong Kong police fired tear gas early on Tuesday to disperse hundreds of people occupying the Legislative Council building on the anniversary of Hong Kong’s 1997 return to Chinese rule.
“Out of blind arrogance and rage, protesters showed a complete disregard for law and order,” the Global Times, published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily, said in an editorial.
“Chinese society is all too aware that a zero-tolerance policy is the only remedy for such destructive behaviour witnessed. Otherwise, and without this policy, it would be similar to opening a Pandora’s box,” it said.
In a separate editorial, the state-run China Daily reiterated the principle of “one country, two systems” in Hong Kong — a formula that allows freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China — saying the former British colony is an “inalienable” part of China, and that Hong Kong affairs concern the mainland.
“The only way for the Special Administrative Region to sustain economic growth and maintain stability is for it to further integrate its own development into the nation’s overall development,” the newspaper said.
Hong Kong leader condemns ‘extremely violent’ protesters
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam condemned the “extremely violent” storming of the city’s parliament after hundreds of protesters ransacked the assembly in an unprecedented display of defiance.
At a press conference in the early hours, Lam called the events “heartbreaking and shocking” and said she hoped society would “return to normal as soon as possible”. She acknowledged that thousands of people marched peacefully in the city before the unrest.
— Fion Li (@fion_li) July 1, 2019
The protesters say Lam has not responded to their demands despite multiple protests in recent weeks.
Protesters ‘looking for democracy’
US President Donald Trump said on Monday that protesters who stormed Hong Kong’s parliament want democracy for the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
“Well, they’re looking for democracy and I think most people want democracy. Unfortunately, some governments don’t want democracy,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
Earlier, Trump said the unrest in Hong Kong was “very sad.”
US urges all sides in Hong Kong to avoid violence
The United States called on all sides in Hong Kong to show restraint.
“We urge all sides to refrain from violence,” a State Department spokeswoman said. “Hong Kong’s success is predicated on its rule of law and respect for fundamental freedoms, including freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.”
The US has voiced solidarity with activists who succeeded in blocking – for now – a move by Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing authorities to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland, whose communist system is notorious for meting out harsh justice.
Monday, July 1:
HK police retake legislative building
Hong Kong’s riot police have retaken the legislative building.
After clearing protesters with tear gas and batons, police were able to walk into the ransacked main chamber without meeting any resistance.
According to AFP news agency, only around two dozen reporters were left inside.
Police destroy protester-made barricades
Police have destroyed metal barriers erected by protesters outside the legislative building.
According to Al Jazeera’s Andrew Thomas, reporting from Hong Kong, police are now holding their position outside the building and calling for protesters to leave the building.
“Not one protester has left and come out through this barricade, so if the police are suggesting that there is safe passage for those who want to leave right now, well they’re not taking up that option,” Thomas said.
Why are people protesting?
Protests began last month over the controversial extradition bill but have since swelled into a wider expression of discontent with the government.
Demonstrators are calling for the following:
- Complete withdrawal of the extradition bill
- Resignation of Beijing-backed Chief Executive Carrie Lam
- Release of arrested protesters
- Investigation into alleged police brutality against protesters
- Retraction of characterisation of protests as riots
Hong Kong police move in on protester-occupied legislature
Hundreds of riot police fired tear gas and surrounded the legislative complex that demonstrators had earlier stormed and occupied.
With riot shields, batons and gas masks, the officers readied to retake the building after hundreds of demonstrators earlier smashed their way in and vandalized the chamber.
Protesters wearing yellow hardhats and masks were seen quickly leaving the building as riot officers moved in.
Police had warned protesters that they would use “appropriate force” to clear the occupied building.
EU urges ‘restraint’
The European Union urged anti-government protesters to use restraint and avoid escalation.
These actions are “not representative of the vast majority of demonstrators, who have been peaceful throughout successive protests,” the EU’s diplomatic arm said.
“In the wake of these incidents, it is all the more important to exercise restraint, avoiding escalatory responses, and to engage in dialogue and consultation to find a way forward,” a statement said.
UK support for Hong Kong freedoms ‘unwavering’: FM Hunt
The United Kingdom‘s support for Hong Kong and “its freedoms is unwavering,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Monday.
The prime ministerial candidate tweeted “to stress UK support for Hong Kong and its freedoms is UNWAVERING on this anniversary day.
“No violence is acceptable but HK people MUST preserve right to peaceful protest exercised within the law, as hundreds of thousands of brave people showed today,” he added
Away from campaigning want to stress UK support for Hong Kong and its freedoms is UNWAVERING on this anniversary day. No violence is acceptable but HK people MUST preserve right to peaceful protest exercised within the law, as hundreds of thousands of brave people showed today.
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 1, 2019
Demonstrators vandalise legislative chamber
Protesters ripped portraits of officials from walls and spray-painted slogans calling for the release of arrested demonstrators.
An old colonial-era flag was draped over the speaker’s chair and a plaque showing a white flower, the symbol of Hong Kong, was blacked out with spray paint.
Some effort was made to safeguard a number of precious objects, however, with protesters placing items on shelves next to signs saying: “Don’t break these”.
Read more here.
Protesters enter legislature building
Riot police apparently retreated from inside the Legislative Council as hundreds of demonstrators streamed into the building after a small group of mostly students wearing hard hats and masks used a metal trolley, poles and scaffolding to repeatedly charge at the compound’s reinforced glass doors, which finally gave way.
The absence of police follows widespread international criticism after police dispersed a June 12 protest with rubber bullets, water canons and tear gas.
The extraordinary scenes came on the anniversary of the semi-autonomous territory’s return from British control to mainland China 22 years ago.
Read more here.
Monday June 17:
Student activist Joshua Wong calls on Lam to resign
In an interview with Al Jazeera, pro-democracy student activist Joshua Wong has called on Lam to resign from office and “withdraw the extradition law proposal”.
“I served a jail sentence and just left prison today … now I can join the fight and let people around the world know that under the rule of China, we will not keep silent,” said Lam, who was freed from prison earlier on Monday.
“No matter who is the chief executive of Hong Kong, they are absolutely the puppet of [China’s] communist regime, because all of them are appointed by the Chinese government,” he added. “We deserve the right to freely elect the leader of our city, that’s the long-term battle, but the short-term one is to get Carrie Lam to step down and withdraw the evil law.”
Pro-democracy protester freed
Hong Kong‘s pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong has been freed from prison and pledged to join the ongoing mass protest movement demanding the city’s Beijing-backed leader, Carrie Lam, steps down over a controversial extradition bill.
Wong, 22, was released from the Lai Chi Kok correctional facility after completing a two-month sentence for his part in the so-called Umbrella Movement that brought the city to a standstill for more than two months in late 2014.
“Withdraw the extradition bill,” Wong said in a tweet after his release. “Carrie Lam step down,” he added.
Hello world and hello freedom. I have just been released from prison. GO HONG KONG!! Withdraw the extradition bill. Carrie Lam step down. Drop all political prosecutions!
— Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 😷 (@joshuawongcf) June 17, 2019
Read more here.
Protesters gather near government HQ
Al Jazeera’s Sarah Clarke, reporting from Hong Kong, says protesters are “keeping the pressure up” on Lam’s administration with hundreds of people staging a sit-in near the shuttered pro-Beijing majority 70-seat Legislative Council building.
The Legislative Council delayed a second reading of the extradition bill scheduled to take place on June 12 after tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets around the government complex. Riot police responded with tear gas, water cannon and pepper spray against those demonstrating, in some of the worst violence the territory has seen since reunification with China.
Sunday, June 16:
Lam issues public apology
Embattled leader Lam has apologised over her prior plans to push through the extradition bill legislation, admitting that “shortcomings in the government’s work has led to a lot of conflict and disputes in Hong Kong society and has disappointed and distressed many citizens”.
In a statement issued by her office, the chief executive “apologised to the people” and “pledged to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticisms and make improvements in serving the public”.
The apology failed to placate protesters or opposition politicians, however, who called for both Lam and the law to go.
Two million take to the streets
The crowd of demonstrators has swelled to two million people, protest organisers say, as pressure ramps up on Lam to scrap the extradition bill.
The turnout was not independently verified but, if confirmed, would mark the largest demonstration in the history of Hong Kong, which is home to about seven million people.
Protesters formed a sea of black along roads, walkways and train stations across Hong Kong’s financial centre. Some carried white carnation flowers and others held banners which said, “Do not shoot, we are Hong Konger” – an appeal to police who fired rubber-coated bullets and tear gas at protesters on Wednesday, wounding more than 70 people.
Beijing backs Lam, bill
Despite the rising pressure on Lam’s administration, Beijing has continued to back the embattled Hong Kong leader over the bill.
The official China Daily newspaper said in an editorial that ruling Communist Party authorities’ support for Lam would “not waver … in the face of street violence nor the ill-intentioned interventions of foreign governments”.
“Despite those who hold up the proposed bill as a sign that the principle of ‘one country, two systems’ is being eroded, the opposite is true,” the editorial added.
Thousands rally, piling pressure on leader
Thousands of people have taken to the streets in Hong Kong dressed in black to demand that the city’s embattled leader step down.
The crowds, walking slowly and shouting “withdraw” and “resign,” spilled into the street from downtown Victoria Park and began marching towards the Central district where the government headquarters are located.
Protest organisers reiterated their five demands in Cantonese and English: that the bill to be dropped, that charges against the protesters arrested Wednesday be dropped, that the characterisation of those demonstrating as ‘rioters’ to be dropped, that police officers who had used violence on Wednesday be held accountable and that Lam to step down.
Hong Kong activists urge people to hold a strike
Hong Kong activists are encouraging the public to support strikes by workers, teachers and students on Monday.
The call comes as Hong Kong residents gather for a march through downtown on Sunday to protest a government plan to enact extradition legislation.
Bonny Leung and other leaders of the pro-democracy Civil Human Rights Front say trade unions, teachers and others would carry on with plans for a strike on Monday as part of the campaign against the extradition bill.
Hong Kong is bracing for another massive protest over the extradition bill, a week after the crisis brought as many as 1 million onto the streets.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Saturday said she was suspending work on the bill but pro-democracy activists say that is not enough; they want the proposal withdrawn and Lam to step down.
The protesters range in age from schoolchildren to retirees, many of whom feel Hong Kong’s autonomy is threatened by the law.
Mourners meanwhile laid flowers Sunday on the pavement near where a man fell to his death a day earlier after hanging a protest banner on scaffolding on a shopping mall.
Read more here.
Saturday, June 15:
Britain praises decision to suspend extradition bill
Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt welcomed a decision by the Hong Kong government to suspend the extradition bill.
“Well done HK Government for heeding concerns of the brave citizens who have stood up for their human rights,” Hunt said on Twitter. “Safeguarding the rights and freedoms in the Sino-British Joint Declaration is the best future for HK and Britain stands behind this legally-binding agreement.”
Well done HK Government for heeding concerns of the brave citizens who have stood up for their human rights. Safeguarding the rights and freedoms in the Sino-British Joint Declaration is the best future for HK and Britain stands behind this legally-binding agreement.
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) June 15, 2019
‘Hong Kong affairs an internal matter’
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said Hong Kong matters were a Chinese internal affair and no country, organisation or individual has a right to interfere.
Its spokesman Geng Shuang said the ministry had taken note of Lam’s announcement. He said China’s determination to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and security and Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability was unshakable.
The “one country, two systems” formula under which Hong Kong has been governed by China since 1997 has been “earnestly” put into effect, and the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong people fully guaranteed, Shuang said in a statement posted on the ministry’s website.
No change in Sunday’s rally plan
Hong Kong protest leaders said they will press ahead with a planned rally on Sunday despite the government suspending a proposed extradition bill.
“We need to tell the government that the Hong Kong people will persist and will not discontinue our protest towards the government unless we see the withdrawal of the bill,” Jimmy Sham, from the Civil Human Rights Front, told reporters.
Hong Kong suspends unpopular bill
Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that a debate on the controversial extradition bill in the Hong Kong Legislative Council will be suspended, after widespread anger and large-scale protests in the Asian financial hub.
In one of the most significant climbdowns by the government since Hong Kong was returned to Chinese rule in 1997, Lam said the city’s legislature would stop all work on the bill. Next steps would be decided after consultations with various parties, she said.
The US Consulate in Hong Kong welcomed the decision. Read more here.
Leader Carrie Lam: “We regret that this incident caused a split in society."
— Hong Kong Free Press HKFP (@hkfp) June 15, 2019
Hong Kong leader to hold news conference
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam will hold a news conference at 3pm local time (07:00GMT).
Local media reported on Saturday, citing unnamed sources, that Lam plans to announce she is suspending a proposed extradition bill that is unpopular with many Hong Kong residents.
Government officials did not confirm that, though many legislators and others involved said it was likely. Read more here.
Thursday, June 13:
Vote on extradition bill postponed again
Hong Kong’s legislature will not vote on the controversial extradition bill on Friday, Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride reported from Hong Kong.
The vote was supposed to take place on Wednesday, but was initially postponed after mass protests, which forced both the government and legislative buildings to close on Friday.
It is not clear when the vote will take place.
Local journalists protest at police press conference
Local journalists protested against claims by police that officers did not use excessive force against protesters on Wednesday.
At a press conference organised by police on Thursday, local journalists donned the high-visibility jackets, helmets and gas masks worn by protesters “just to show that they do not believe Hong Kong police acted with a minimum of force,” Al Jazeera’s Rob McBride reported.
For their part, the police said they only used a minimum amount of force and did show restraint.
HK ‘definitely’ not seeking Chinese military assistance: police chief
Hong Kong’s Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung has said the city will “definitely” not seek the Chinese army’s assistance in dealing with massive protests.
“At the moment, we would definitely not seek [the People’s Liberation Army’s] assistance. We have sufficient manpower, sufficient power to maintain the situation,” Lo said.
He added that 22 police officers were injured on Wednesday and that demonstrators used bricks and poles to attack police.
The comment comes just over a week after the 30th anniversary of student protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, in which an unknown number of demonstrators were killed by the Chinese military.
Eleven arrested in Wednesday protests: police chief
Hong Kong authorities arrested 11 people during Wednesday’s protests, police chief Stephen Lo Wai-chung said on Thursday.
Speaking at a press briefing, Lo said 22 police officers were injured in the protests, which turned violent as police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray.
Hong Kong protest leaders call for new rally, strike
Hong Kong protest leaders have announced plans for another mass rally on Sunday and a city-wide strike on Monday.
“[We] will fight until the end with Hong Kong people,” Jimmy Sham from the Civil Human Rights Front, the main protest group, said, adding that it had applied for permission to hold the weekend rally.
“When facing ignorance, contempt and suppression, we will only be stronger, there will only be more Hong Kong people,” he told reporters on Thursday.
China hits back at EU comments
China has shot back at the European Union’s remarks about political freedom in Hong Kong, urging the bloc to be “cautious” about interfering in China’s “internal affairs”.
Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, expressed “strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition” to the EU’s “irresponsible and erroneous” statements.
“We have said many times that Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs,” Geng said. “No country, organisation or individual has the right to intervene”.
The EU earlier called for the Hong Kong government to respect the rights of protesters.
Seventy-nine people being treated after Wednesday protests: Hong Kong officials
Public hospitals in Hong Kong were treating 79 people for protest-related injuries as of 11am local time (03:00 GMT).
A statement from the Hospital Authority said 56 of the injured were male and 23 were female, adding that the figures included both civilians and police officers.
Taiwan says protests show ‘one country, two systems’ doesn’t work
Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen has said the protests in Hong Kong show that the “one country, two systems” framework doesn’t work.
Tsai told reporters on Thursday that the government in Hong Kong should listen to its people and not rush to pass the controversial legislation that sparked the protests.
A former British colony, Hong Kong was returned to China under the principle of “one country, two systems,” in which Hong Kong received semi-autonomy and greater freedoms than mainland China.
Self-governed Taiwan is claimed by China, who wants the territory to reunite with it under a similar framework as Hong Kong.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Tsai urged people to “look at Hong Kong and think about Taiwan.”
Young people have lost faith in police and government: Hong Kong official
A Hong Kong legislator has said young people there have lost faith in the police and their government following violent clashes with protesters.
Labor Party Vice Chairman Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung told The Associated Press that the relationship between citizens and the authorities “has been completely deteriorated”.
Cheung said on Thursday that “We’ve seen [the police] use extreme forces which are not proportional to the demonstration”.
He added that the widespread use of face masks by protesters and their unwillingness to be identified was understandable given the authorities’ growing tendency to file heavy charges for seemingly mild public disorder offences.
Telegram CEO links cyberattack to China
Pavel Durov, CEO of encrypted messaging app Telegram, has said it was hit by a powerful cyberattack that coincided with the protests.
In a post on Twitter on Thursday, Durov said that the attack mostly came from a Chinese IP address.
“Historically, all state actor-sized [attacks] we experienced coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong (coordinated on @telegram). This case was not an exception”.
The messaging system is frequently used to arrange protests in the hopes of evading government surveillance.
IP addresses coming mostly from China. Historically, all state actor-sized DDoS (200-400 Gb/s of junk) we experienced coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong (coordinated on @telegram). This case was not an exception.
— Pavel Durov (@durov) June 12, 2019
Hong Kong authorities shut government offices due to protests
Hong Kong authorities have shut government offices in the city’s financial district for the rest of the week after a day of violence over an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.
Early on Thursday just a handful of protester remained milling about as a widespread cleanup around the city’s legislature took place.
Police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray in a series of skirmishes on Wednesday to clear demonstrators from the city’s legislature.
It was some of the worst violence in Hong Kong since Britain handed it back to Chinese rule in 1997.
The Hong Kong Hospital Authority said 72 people had been hospitalised by 10 pm on Wednesday.
China state media blames Hong Kong protests on ‘lawlessness’
Protests in Hong Kong over planned new extradition laws with China are “hammering” the city’s reputation, with outbreaks of “lawlessness” undermining rule of law, Chinese state media said in editorials published on Thursday.
Hong Kong riot police and protesters braced for possible further clashes on Thursday after a day of violence over the extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.
The English-language China Daily said the new amendments were in line with international conventions but “the opposition camp and its foreign masters seem willing to oppose it for their own purposes at the expense of the city’s rule of law, public safety and justice.”
“It is lawlessness that will hurt Hong Kong, not the proposed amendments to its fugitive law,” it said.
The state-owned tabloid The Global Times blamed “radical opposition forces” and “the Western forces behind them” for hyping up and politicising the amendments.
Wednesday, June 12:
Hong Kong chief slams ‘blatant, organised riot’
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam pointed the finger at protesters for the politically motivated “riot” which was marked by violence and police force.
Lam said that some young people in the crowd had expressed their views peacefully, but she condemned protesters who resorted to “dangerous and life-threatening acts”.
Lam’s added that the peaceful protests that flowed through the city’s streets on Sunday had devolved into a “blatant, organised riot.”
EU says Hong Kong rights ‘need to be respected’
The European Union said on Wednesday the Hong Kong government must respect citizens rights while all sides should exercise restraint after violent protests against plans to allow extradition to mainland China.
“Over the past days, the people of Hong Kong have exercised their fundamental right to assemble and express themselves freely and peacefully. These rights need to be respected,” a statement issued by the EU’s external affairs arm said.
“Restraint should be exercised by all sides; violence and escalatory responses must be avoided,” it added.
Rights group denounces ‘excessive’ police force
Amnesty International has condemned what it called excessive force by Hong Kong police against the largely peaceful protesters, saying it violates international law and is likely to lead to worsening violence.
Man-Kei Tam, Amnesty’s Hong Kong director, said tear gas and rubber bullets should never be used to disperse peaceful protesters because they are “notoriously inaccurate and indiscriminate, and can result in serious injury and even death”.
The rights group warned that the police action was “fuelling tensions and is likely to contribute to worsening violence, rather than end it”.
At least 72 people were taken to hospitals after the massive protests. According to the Hong Kong Hospital Authority, 10 remained in treatment, 19 were in stable condition, and 41 have been released.
Trump hopes protesters ‘work it out’ with China
US President Donald Trump has said he understands Hong Kong protesters but hopes they can “work it out” with Beijing.
“I hope they’re going to be able to work it out with China,” Trump told reporters at the White House.”I understand the reason for the demonstration,” he said. “I hope it all works out for China and for Hong Kong.”
Trump’s cautious response to what he said were “massive” demonstrations came as Washington and Beijing try to pick up the pieces of their collapsed talks on resolving a trade war.
“We’re doing very well with respect to China,” Trump said, referring to huge trade tariffs imposed on Chinese imports. “I have a feeling that we’re going to make a deal with China,” he said.
Protesters vow to keep fighting
Following a day of sit-ins, tear gas and clashes with police, Hong Kong students and civil rights activists vowed to keep protesting against the proposed extradition bill.
“We’ll stay until the government drops this law and [Chinese President] Xi Jinping gives up on trying to turn Hong Kong into just another city in China like Beijing and Shanghai,” college student Louis Wong Wong said.
Traffic in one of the busiest parts of the city remained blocked.
“We want the government to just set the legislation aside and not bring it back,” said a protester who gave only his first name, Marco, because he feared possible repercussions from authorities.
Another protester, who gave her name only as King, said: “We have to stand up for our rights or they will be taken away”.
Germany reviews its Hong Kong extradition accord
A foreign ministry spokeswoman has said Germany is “examining whether the existing bilateral extradition agreement between Germany and Hong Kong could continue to be implemented in its current form if the planned extradition bill is approved”.
Maria Adebahr also said that Berlin and its European Union partners have expressed their concern to Hong Kong authorities.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffen Seibert, said it was a good sign that the majority of protesters have been peaceful “and we appeal to all concerned to ensure that things remain just as peaceful in Hong Kong”.
Legal group urges Hong Kong to withdraw bill
The Hong Kong Bar Association urged the government to “withdraw the bill for a full and proper consultation”.
In a letter addressed to Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, Chairman Philip Dykes said the group wants to know whether the government took into account the human rights situation in mainland China before seeking assurances from Beijing on the matter.
UK PM May: We are concerned
“We are concerned about potential effects of these proposals particularly obviously given the large number of British citizens there are in Hong Kong,” May told parliament.
“But it is vital that those extradition arrangements in Hong Kong are in line with the rights and freedoms that were set down in the Sino-British joint declaration.”
UK calls on Hong Kong to pause extradition bill
Britain urged the Hong Kong government to “pause and reflect” on the extradition bill that has sparked widespread protests and said the former British colony must protect its rights, freedoms and high degree of autonomy.
“I urge the Hong Kong government to listen to the concerns of its people and its friends in the international community and to pause and reflect on these controversial measures,” Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said.
“It is essential that the authorities engage in meaningful dialogue and take steps to preserve Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms and high degree of autonomy, which underpin its international reputation.”
Police defend ‘non-lethal’ use of force
At a brief news conference held as the chaos swirled just outside, Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung called the demonstration a riot and condemned the “irresponsible behaviour” of protesters.
That could spell long jail terms for anyone arrested, adding to concerns that Hong Kong’s government is using public disturbance laws to intimidate political protesters.
Police spokesman Gong Weng Chun defended the decision to use tear gas and other non-lethal weapons to quell the demonstration.
Protesters tear gassed
Hong Kong police used tear gas, pepper spray and high-pressure water hoses against protesters who laid siege to government buildings to oppose the extradition bill.
Thousands of protesters blocked entry to Hong Kong’s government headquarters, delaying a legislative session on proposed changes to the law.
Demonstrators moved metal crowd control barriers, ignoring police warnings to stop. When the crowd gained access to the grounds of the legislature building, police fired more tear gas to push them back.
After most of the crowd was dispersed, some 100 demonstrators could be seen holding their ground in one section of the complex.
HK administration: ‘Leave the area’
In an earlier statement to reporters, Chief Secretary for Administration Mathew Cheung asked demonstrators to leave the area.
“The Hong Kong government calls on people who are blocking roads to … go back to the pavement as soon as possible,” he said.
Cheung gave no indication of when the delayed legislative debate would begin.
China reiterates support for Hong Kong government
China’s central government firmly supports the Hong Kong government in passing an extradition law, the foreign ministry reiterated.
Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a news briefing in Beijing any actions that harm Hong Kong are opposed by mainstream Hong Kong public opinion. He also urged the United States to speak and act with caution regarding Hong Kong.
Tens of thousands of Hong Kong demonstrators surrounded the Chinese-ruled city’s legislature, forcing it to postpone the second round of debate on the bill.
Hong Kong consulate in Taiwan
Dozens of people protested outside the Hong Kong consulate in Taiwan to denounce proposed amendments to Hong Kong’s extradition laws.
Hong Kong students sitting outside the consulate in Taipei held posters reading “No extradition to China” and chanting “Hong Kong government, shame on you”.
Ho Wing Tung, a Hong Kong student in Taiwan, said the rule of law won’t exist if the legislation passes and she is afraid the “one country, two systems” principle would become a joke.
Hong Kong delays debate as crowds mass
Thousands of protesters blocked entry to Hong Kong’s government headquarters, delaying a legislative session on the proposed law change.
The overwhelmingly young crowd overflowed onto a major downtown road, overturning barriers and tussling with police outside the building that houses the chambers where the legislature was to discuss the bill.
A curt government statement said the session scheduled to begin at 11am would be “changed to a later time.” An earlier statement said staff members were advised not to go to work and those already on the premises were told to “stay at their working place until further notice.”
Tuesday, June 11
Open debate on controversial bill
Protesters in Hong Kong are gathering outside the semiautonomous Chinese territory’s legislature amid plans for further demonstrations and strike actions on Wednesday morning.
The administration of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam plans to open debate on the legal amendments on Wednesday.
Largest demonstration in decades
The head of Hong Kong’s legislature has announced the schedule for debate on contentious changes to the territory’s extradition laws, setting a vote by June 20.
Legislature President Andrew Leung said Tuesday that he had accepted 153 out of 238 proposed amendments to the bills. He said there would be 66 hours for debate.
Hundreds of thousands of people protested against the legislation on Sunday in the largest demonstration in Hong Kong in more than a decade.
The turnout reflected growing apprehension about relations with the Communist Party-ruled mainland.