On Wednesday, Hong Kong's legislature formally withdrew planned legislation that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, but the move was unlikely to end months of unrest as it met just one of five demands of pro-democracy protesters.
The rallying cry of the protesters, who have trashed public buildings in the Chinese-ruled city, set street fires and thrown petrol bombs at police, has been “five demands, not one less”, meaning the withdrawal of the bill make no difference.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said many times the bill was as good as dead and said that other demands, including universal suffrage and an amnesty for all those charged with rioting, were beyond her control.
“There aren’t any big differences between suspension and withdrawal (of the extradition bill)... It’s too little, too late,” said 27-year-old protester Connie, hours before the bill was withdrawn. “There are still other demands the government needs to meet, especially the problem of police brutality.”
Police have responded to the violence with water cannon, tear gas, rubber bullets and several live rounds.
Protesters are angry at what they see as Beijing encroaching on the former British colony’s “one country, two systems” formula enshrined during the handover in 1997, which permits the city wide-ranging freedoms not available on the mainland such as an independent judiciary.