Hong Kong Demonstrations Rage On Against Extradition Bill; Police Use Tear Gas, Bean Bags, Rubber Bullets Against Protesters

  • As mass demonstrations continue in Hong Kong in response to the government’s new extradition bill, police used tear gas, bean bags and fire bullets on protesters. During the demonstrations, protesters blocked major roads and threw objects at law enforcement.
  • According to reports, “rights groups, including Amnesty, have accused police of using excessive force, but Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung said police had had ‘no choice.’”
  • Lo described the protests as a “riot,” but stopped short of calling in the People’s Liberation Army for help or instituting a curfew.
  • Lo said police reacted because protesters “used metal bars to stab our colleagues,” and added: “Concerning whether or not the police should take the blame, I think all of us should think about who initiated the violence.”
  • According to officials, around 72 people have been injured between the ages of 15 and 66. Two men are listed in critical condition.
  • Under the new extradition law, Hong Kong would be able to extradite suspects accused of crimes to mainland China, Taiwan and Macau. Hong Kong hasn’t had extradition treaties with these nations since it’s a semi-autonomous city.
  • Despite the protests, the bill is expected to pass and a final vote will be held on June 20. As of now, Hong Kong’s Legislative Council has delayed the bill’s second reading.
  • Critics of the bill fear that it lends itself toward human rights abuses by China, including unnecessarily targeting China’s political opponents.
  • Hong Kong’s government has “promised legally binding human rights safeguards and other measures it says should alleviate concerns.”
  • Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said: “The rioting actions that damage peaceful society, ignoring law and discipline is unacceptable for any civilized societies.”
  • Lam also addressed critics who said she has “sold out” Hong Kong and replied: “I have grown up here with all the Hong Kong people. My love for this place has led me to make many personal sacrifices.”

Reference Links

  • BBC: Hong Kong extradition: Police fire rubber bullets at protesters READ
  • AP: Hong Kong protesters vow to keep fighting extradition law READ
  • Reuters: Hong Kong police fire rubber bullets as extradition bill protests turn to chaos READ
  • Hong Kong Free Press: Hong Kong police use rubber bullets, bean bags, tear gas to clear protests; curfew and PLA deployment ruled out READ

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