An anti-China demonstration in Hong Kong led by college students and young protesters who took over the roads and surrounded the Legislative Council on Wednesday has reminded of the Umbrella Movement, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy rallies in 2014. According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP), tens of thousands of protesters surrounded the Legislative Council to prevent lawmakers from entering the building, voicing their opposition to an extradition bill. It was also reported that Hong Kong lawmakers have postponed a debate over the controversial bill.
As the demonstrators announced that the protest will go on for an indefinite period in opposition to the debate and vote on the proposal, both of which will be conducted on June 20, some suspect that it will be escalated the second Umbrella Movement. The bill would allow the transfer of fugitives to the mainland China with which Hong Kong has no extradition deal.
Opposition group alliance “Civil Human Rights Front” announced a plan to besiege the Legislative Council from 10 a.m. on Tuesday, but hundreds of college students and citizens started to gather around the council building from the night before. The march-goers wore masks and black clothes while some of them had yellow helmets and goggles on in case of physical contact with police. Some protesters breaking and collecting pavers were also witnessed. They seized the nearby roads and blocked busses from passing the area. Demonstrators once again have seized the roads after the 79-day seizure of Hong Kong downtown during the 2014 Umbrella Movement.
According to Reuters, the young protesters said they “won’t leave until they scrap the law” and “Carrie Lam – Chief Executive of Hong Kong – has underestimated us.” The SCMP reported that protesters called the government the “traitors who sell Hong Kong out.” The Civil Human Rights Front appealed to all Hong Kong citizens to go on strike and besiege the Legislative Council until June 20. Death threats were made against Chief Executive Carrie Lam if the extradition bill was not withdrawn within 24 hours.
Despite the delay of the second debate on the bill by the mass demonstrations, they are unlikely to prevent the law from being enacted if the Hong Kong government pushes ahead with the bill, as pro-Beijing lawmakers hold the majority of the legislature’s 70 seats. It was also reported that Hong Kong police put up a sign that said they would fire unless demonstrators are dispersed.
The SCMP said the heated demonstrations may lead to bloodshed. Chinse state-run media Global Times argued, “Without the interference from foreign forces, especially the U.S., the opposition groups and extreme Hong Kong separatists would not have been able to launch such a serious attack.”
Wan-Jun Yun firstname.lastname@example.org