Latest pro-democracy rally draws tens of thousands in Hong Kong

Latest pro-democracy rally draws tens of thousands in Hong Kong
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Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong Sunday drew tens of thousands of people, according to The Associated Press, with organizers expressing hopes the demonstration would remain peaceful after a series of clashes with police.

“We hope that there will not be any chaotic situations today,” organizer Bonnie Leung told the AP. “We hope we can show the world that Hong Kong people can be totally peaceful.”

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Police approved a rally on Sunday but not an accompanying march, but lack of space in the designated assembly area led numerous demonstrators to fan out into the surrounding streets, the news service noted.

In China, You Wenze, a spokesman for the ceremonial legislature, reportedly spoke out against U.S. lawmakers who have endorsed the demonstrations, calling it “a gross violation of the spirit of the rule of law, a blatant double standard and a gross interference in China’s internal affairs.”

You said Hong Kong and China’s populations were opposed to both “a very small group of violent protesters” and “any interference of foreign forces,” according to the AP.

As the protests escalate, Chinese officials have accused the U.S. of fomenting them, particularly after Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Pence says US is 'locked and loaded' to defend allies US-Iran next moves — Déjà vu of Obama administration mistakes? MORE expressed hopes Beijing would “do the right thing” in response. Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPence says it's 'vital' for Congress to pass US-Mexico-Canada trade deal The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump heads to California Obama, Bush among those paying tribute to Cokie Roberts: 'A trailblazing figure' MORE (D-Calif.) has also expressed support for the demonstrators and urged Hong Kong officials to take action to end the standoff.

The protests began over a bill that would allow the extradition of certain criminal suspects to China. Chief Executive Carrie Lam has since declared the bill “dead,” but protests have persisted with calls for Lam’s resignation and an independent probe into police brutality against demonstrators as well as concerns over what some perceive as erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy from China.