Hundreds of thousands take to streets in Hong Kong to protest extradition bill

Hundreds of thousands take to streets in Hong Kong to protest extradition bill
© Getty Images

Approximately 1 million people reportedly demonstrated in Hong Kong on Sunday against a bill that would allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China.

While organizers estimated around 1 million people participated in the march throughout its seven-hour duration, a police spokesperson said there were about 240,000 marchers at its peak, according to Reuters

ADVERTISEMENT

James To of Hong Kong’s Democratic Party told the crowd outside  the city’s government headquarters Sunday evening that Chief Executive Carrie Lam "has to withdraw the bill and resign," Reuters noted.

“The whole of Hong Kong is against her,” he added.

The amended legislation is scheduled to be debated in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council Wednesday and could officially become law by the end of the month, the news service noted.

The bill has sparked international concerns as well, with both European and U.S. government officials and human rights groups expressing reservations it could hurt rule of law in the city, which was transferred to Chinese rule in 1997 with guarantees that it would have a legal system independent from Beijing.  

A broad swath of Hong Kong society has united in opposition to the measure, including lawyers, religious organizations, student activists, pro-democracy advocates and members of the business community, according to Reuters. Several participants told the news service the Sunday demonstration was their first-ever public protest.

“The extradition bill will directly threaten the core values of Hong Kong and rule of law,” Kelvin Tam, a student in London, told Reuters. “It will remove the firewall of Hong Kong judicial independence.”

Protests against the measure were planned for Sunday in more than 20 other cities around the world, including New York, London and Sydney, according to the news service.