Hong Kong protesters throng streets under heavy rain
SEE ALSO :Chinese pump Sh100m into projectsAnger over a now-suspended bill that would allow criminal suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China erupted in June, but the rising unrest has been fueled by broader worries about the erosion of freedoms guaranteed under the “one country, two systems” formula put in place after Hong Kong’s return from British to Chinese rule in 1997. Protesters held aloft placards with slogans including “Free Hong Kong!” and “Democracy now!” and umbrellas to shield them from the rain. The crowd in Victoria Park was peaceful and included elderly people as well as the middle aged, young people and families, with some parents carrying toddlers. Despite rally organizers not having permission to march, the park could not accommodate the crowd, which thronged the streets around the park. Many protesters headed toward the city’s financial center, chanting for the city’s Beijing-backed leader, Carrie Lam, to step down. “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong,” umbrella-carrying protesters chanted. One protester shouted at others who were jeering at police “Today is a peaceful march! Don’t fall into the trap! The world is watching us,” prompting the group to move on.
SEE ALSO :President Uhuru’s 2019 State visitsIt was impossible to put an exact figure on the number of protesters put Reuters journalists, reporting from around the territory, put the total at at least 100,000. Aside from Lam’s resignation, demonstrators are seeking complete withdrawal of the extradition bill, a halt to descriptions of the protests as “rioting”, a waiver of charges against those arrested, an independent inquiry and resumption of political reform. “When we were young, we didn’t think about it. But my son tells me: After 2047, what will happen to me?,” said a history teacher named Poon, referring to the year when the 50-year agreement enshrining Hong Kong’s separate system will lapse. “I will come again and again and again. We do not know how any of this is going to end. We will still fight,” she said. ‘We are Kong Kongers’
SEE ALSO :SMEs reap big from China importsLast week, protesters who occupied the terminal at Hong Kong’s airport forced the cancellation of nearly 1,000 flights and detained two men they thought were pro-government sympathizers, prompting Beijing to liken the behavior to terrorism. “We are Hong Kongers. We are here for our future. We feel for the teenagers,” said Frances Chan, 60, a retired journalist attending Sunday’s rally. She said only a few protesters had used violence, sparingly, and that it was brought on by pressure from authorities and police. “Actually, we want peace and freedom,” she said. “If the government would just listen to the five requests, things would calm down.”
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