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Huge Hong Kong protest against extradition bill

Published: June 9, 2019
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Source: bbc.com

(BBC) - Hundreds of thousands of people are marching in Hong Kong against a law critics fear could let China target political opponents in the territory.

The controversial extradition bill would allow suspected criminals to be sent to mainland China for trial.

The protests are thought to be the biggest since the 2014 Umbrella Movement, which saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets.

The government says the bill has built-in protections and will plug loopholes.

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam has pushed for the amendments to be passed before July. Supporters say safeguards are in place to prevent anyone facing religious or political persecution from being extradited to mainland China.

But the bill's critics say those in the former British colony would be exposed to China's deeply flawed justice system, and it would lead to further erosion of the city's judicial independence.

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hong Kong was plunged into a fresh political crisis on Sunday night after several hundred thousand people took to the streets to thwart a proposed extradition law that would allow suspects to be sent to mainland China to face trial.

Organizers said their initial estimates put the turnout at well over half a million people, saying it outstripped a demonstration in 2003 when 500,000 hit the streets to challenge government plans for tighter national security laws.

Those laws were later shelved and a key government official forced to resign. Sunday’s outpouring was already raising the pressure on the administration of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and her official backers in Beijing.

“She has to withdraw the bill and resign,” veteran Democratic Party lawmaker James To told crowds gathering outside the city’s parliament and government headquarters on Sunday night.

“The whole of Hong Kong is against her.”

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Hong Kong (CNN) More than 150,000 protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong Sunday to oppose a controversial extradition bill that would enable China to extradite fugitives from the city. Organizers said they believed the number will exceed 500,000.

Critics say the bill will leave anyone on Hong Kong soil vulnerable to being grabbed by the Chinese authorities for political reasons or inadvertent business offenses and undermine the city's semi-autonomous legal system.
 
The bill has caused political gridlock, outcry among the city's usually pro-conservative business community, and even physical scuffles in the city's legislature, as well as criticism of the Hong Kong government by the United States and European Union.
 
The government says the bill is designed to plug loopholes in current law, by allowing Hong Kong to decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not to send fugitives to territories where it doesn't have formal extradition deals -- such as Taiwan, Macau and mainland China. Lawmakers have said the guarantee of a fair trial will not be written into the bill.

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(Aljazeera) Tens of thousands of people are gathering in Hong Kong in the last bid to block a proposed extradition law that would allow suspects to be sent to China to face trial, with police bracing for the biggest march in the city in 15 years.

Police chiefs called for public restraint, government-funded broadcaster RTHK reported on Sunday, as they mobilised more than 2,000 officers for the march that organisers expect to draw more than 500,000 people.

That would make it the biggest rally since a similar number turned out in 2003 to challenge government plans for tighter national security laws, which were later shelved.

Early indications suggested the crowds could reach several hundred thousand, with underground rail stations jammed with people trying to join the rally, which will start at 3pm (07:00 GMT) at Victoria Park.

Protesters who arrived early chanted "no China extradition, no evil law" while others called for Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam to step down. One protester held a sign reading "Carry off Carrie".

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