In a fresh twist to the Hong Kong unrest, protests returned to Hong Kong streets yet again on Sunday, June 16, 2019, even after the extradition bill was suspended.
A whopping two million people protested on Sunday, even after the Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam apologized for proposing the bill.
Many protesters, who fear increased Chinese influence over Hong Kong, have demanded for her resignation and for the bill to be scrapped.
The protest was mainly peaceful, with police officers reportedly holding back to allow the people to slowly pass through the city. This was in deep contrast to the previous demonstration on Wednesday, that resulted in clashes between the police and the protesters.
Most of the protesters were wearing black as a mark of solidarity for the cause. They carried placards that read “The students did not riot”. This was in connection to the police calling last Wednesday’s student protests a riot, an offence punishable by up to 10 years in jail.
There was complete dissatisfaction with Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, with many calling her attitude an ignorance of the feelings of the local people.
Earlier in the day, the government had hoped that the unrest would ease out, after they announced a suspension of the bill. However, that was not the outcome with approximately two million taking on the streets in protest.
The protesters insist on a complete withdrawal of the bill and not just a suspension.
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Hong Kong is a former British colony, but was returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” agreement so that they have autonomy.
The government had argued the proposed extradition bill would “plug the loopholes” so that the city would not be a safe haven for criminals, following a murder case in Taiwan. However, locals feel that the legislation would expose people in Hong Kong to China’s flawed justice system and lead to further erosion of the city’s judicial independence.