Opponents of a recently proposed extradition agreement between Hong Kong and China are calling for more large-scale protests this weekend, after Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam ignored demands to formally cancel the bill by Thursday, June 20.
On Tuesday, Lam agreed to delay indefinitely the proposed extradition agreement with China, after apologizing for the bill for the second time in seven days. Lam explained in a news conference that the bill has been “stopped immediately” and that “the bill will lapse.”
The proposed law will expire in July of next year if Hong Kong’s legislative process does not move forward.
However, among the 2 million protestors who packed Hong Kong’s streets last weekend, many are still worried that Lam is simply using a delay tactic and that she still intends to advance the extradition bill in the future in order to appease Beijing.
Protest organizers are calling for additional peaceful demonstrations that include surrounding government buildings within the Legislative Council Complex and gathering around major transportation centers. They are encouraging people to take time off from work or school, if need be, to join the demonstrations.
On Thursday evening, crowds had already begun to gather near the city center.
Civil protests began on Sunday, June 9, when as many as 1 million demonstrators gathered to express outrage over the proposed bill that would expand the Chinese communist government’s ability to capture and extradite criminal suspects from Hong Kong.
Many in Hong Kong fear that this law could be used as a political weapon and target anyone whom China’s communist party views as a political opponent. This could include democracy supporters, journalists, and human rights critics, among others.
Hong Kong legislators were unable to review and debate the bill last week, when tens of thousands of demonstrators surrounded the Legislative Council Complex. The area remained closed through last weekend, with police barricading the main buildings.
As reported by the South China Morning Post, many of the protests have been loosely organized by a group called Civil Human Rights Front, who use online chat rooms and messaging to network with tens of thousands of followers.
In China’s mainland, government-controlled media are trying to block information about the Hong Kong protests, while state-sponsored computer hackers are reportedly attacking the Telegram digital messaging platform, in the hopes of disrupting protest organizers.