Tens of thousands of Hong Kong people gathered on Monday afternoon for the annual July 1 march that is held on the anniversary of Britain’s return of Hong Kong to China in 1997. This year’s event had a massive turnout of people more than previous years.
The pro-democracy protesters were demanding the proposed controversial extradition law be withdrawn and for the Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, to resign.
The extradition bill controversy has aroused deeper concerns about how the mainland Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is slowly encroaching on and disintegrating the civil rights guaranteed to Hong Kong for 50 years under a “one country, two systems” political structure.
The protesters oppose the Hong Kong’s government bid to change laws to allow suspects to be extradited to China to face trial.
In the aftermath of the massive protests last month attended by over a million people the organizers were saying, the Hong Kong government postponed discussions of the extradition bill indefinitely.
But organizers and leaders of the protests on Monday demanded the controversial bill to be officially withdrawn and for Lam to step down as Hong Kong’s leader. They were also demanding for an independent investigation into police actions during last month’s protest.
The pro-democracy activist leaders wanted an inquiry into police officers’ use of tear gas, rubber bullets, and violence to disperse protesters during the June 12 protest.
Due to another protest group trying to storm the Legislative Council building, organizers of the annual march had to change the ending point to an area nearby.
Earlier today, protesters blockaded a street near the government’s flag-raising ceremony. Police armed with pepper spray, gas masks, and shields, lunged at protesters, walloping some people with batons as they fell on the ground.
The angry scenes between protesters and police actions have exacerbated tensions in the once thriving global financial center that is already shaken by the historic demonstrations about three weeks ago.