Hong Kong: Thousands of people took to streets of Hong Kong on Sunday to protest against the newly proposed extradition rules by their government that would allow criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.
Protestors feared that the newly framed extradition plan would further dissolve the rights and legal protections, which were guaranteed under the city’s handover from British colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty in 1997, Al Jazeera reported.
The police told the agency that nearly 22,800 people marched peacefully for more than three hours through the shopping and business districts of Causeway Bay and Wanchai, with thousands staying on into the evening outside the Legislative Council and government headquarters.
Sunday’s protests marked one of the largest street protests in the city in several years. Most of the protestors also carried yellow umbrellas that recalled Hong Kong’s massive 2014 pro-democracy protests, in which four leading activists were sentenced to up to 16 months in jail.
Demonstrators carried placards accusing Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam of “selling out” Hong Kong and called on her to resign.
Some protesters also dressed as Chinese mainland police officers guarding another demonstrator standing behind a portable red cage. One of the protestors held up a sign that read: “President Xi Jinping, no legalised kidnapping of Hong Kong people to China”.
On April 3, Hong Kong implemented new extradition rules that allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial, standing fast against growing opposition to a move that many fear could further erode the city’s legal protections.
According to the laws, Chief Executive Carrie Lam would have the right to order the extradition of wanted offenders to China, Macau and Taiwan as well as other countries not covered by Hong Kong’s existing extradition treaties.
The bill, however, has become a diplomatic quagmire as Hong Kong and Beijing both consider Taiwan, a self-ruling island, to be part of greater China.