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Extradition law protests turn violent in Hong Kong

by Onize Ohikere
Posted 6/12/19, 10:31 am

Hong Kong police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at tens of thousands of protesters Wednesday who blocked access to the Legislative Council building, temporarily delaying a debate on a controversial extradition bill. Demonstrators, the majority of them young people, donned masks and cling film to shield themselves from pepper spray. Organizers built barricades and supplied snacks, water bottles, and in one instance, a Bible.

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council was scheduled to hold a second round of debate on a bill that would make it easier to send criminal suspects to China, where they could face unfair trials. Business owners also worry the legislation could undermine investor trust.

The Hong Kong government announced a delay in the legislative session, but many protesters remained on the streets. Police officers then used tear gas, pepper spray, and water hoses on the demonstrators, injuring at least 22. Videos from the scene showed some protesters hurling rocks, bottles, and other projectiles at police. Many of the demonstrators fled into nearby shopping centers.

The government said later that Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, would reschedule the session. Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung called the demonstrations a riot and condemned the “irresponsible behavior.” Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen expressed solidarity with the people of Hong Kong, saying, “We see their thirst for human rights protection and democratic rule of law.”

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Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD's Africa reporter. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University-Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria. Follow her on Twitter @onize_ohiks.

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