Protests in Hong Kong against Chinese extradition end in violence

Last Updated: Jun 10 2019 17:59
Reading time: 1 min, 17 secs

Early on Monday, a huge peaceful protest in Hong Kong against controversial plans to allow extraditions to the Chinese mainland descended into violence as police fought running battles with small pockets of demonstrators.

According to organisers, more than a million people took part in the Sunday march - the largest protest since Hong Kong’s 1997 handover to China - confronting the city’s pro-Beijing leadership with a major political crisis.

The city government is pushing a bill through the legislature that would allow extraditions to any jurisdiction with which it does not already have a treaty, including mainland China.

Officers used pepper spray hoses to push the crowds back, who shouted: “We have a right to protest!” Skirmishes continued overnight as protesters and police played cat and mouse in the nearby streets.

The scenes were reminiscent of 2014, when police used tear gas against pro-democracy demonstrators, setting off two months of demonstrations that took over key intersections of the international finance hub.

Just hours earlier protesters had been celebrating the huge turnout, hoping it would prompt the government into rethinking the law.

“The government cannot ignore these numbers,” protester Peter Chan, 21, told AFP. “If they really choose not to response to our demands we will not rule out more action.” For more than six hours on Sunday dense crowds snaked their way through the city chanting “Scrap the evil law!” and “Oppose China extradition!” Police, who historically give much lower figures than organisers, put the peak crowd size at 240,000 - still their second highest estimate for attendance at a protest since the handover.