June 15, 2019
HONG Kong: Hong Kong authorities were bracing Friday for more protests by demonstrators trying to prevent Beijing-appointed Chief Executive Carrie Lam from pushing through a bill that would allow suspects from the territory to be tried in mainland Chinese courts.
As of Friday afternoon, nearly 30,000 people had signed a petition protesting the use of force by police during violent clashes with protesters earlier in the week.
The busy downtown area was calm Friday morning after days of protests by students and human right activists. But a demonstration by a group of mothers angry with police use of rubber bullets, batons and other forceful measures was expected Friday evening. Still more protests were planned for Sunday and Monday.
Demonstrators have said they remain committed to preventing the government from enacting amendments they see as eroding the legal autonomy Hong Kong retained when Britain ended its colonial rule of the city in 1997, handing sovereignty to Beijing.
Traffic flowed on major thoroughfares that had been closed after a protest by hundreds of thousands of people on Sunday, challenging Lam’s two-year-old government. Protesters had kept up a presence through Thursday night, singing hymns and holding up signs criticizing the police for their handling of the demonstrations.
Police said they have arrested 11 people on charges such as assaulting police officers and unlawful assembly. Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung said 22 officers had been injured in the fracas, and hospital administrators said they treated 81 people for protest-related injuries.
Several hundred young protesters gathered Thursday on a pedestrian bridge across from the government complex, standing for hours and singing “Sing Hallelujah to the Lord,” while holding signs with messages such as “Don’t Shoot” and “End the Violence.” Signs were posted on the walls of the bridge Friday, including photocopies of the famed Associated Press “Tank Man” picture that became a symbol of resistance to China’s bloody suppression of student-led pro-democracy protests centered on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989.
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