No bloodshed, no injuries, no arrests: HK extradition bill protesters vow peaceful response after deadline passes with demands unanswered

22-Jun-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Protesters are set to besiege Hong Kong’s legislative and administrative headquarters on Friday, after the city’s embattled leader refused to fully withdraw the controversial extradition bill before their deadline at 5pm on Thursday.

The protesters’ four demands, which were issued on social media and internet messaging groups, also included that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor retract all references to the clashes between protesters and police on June 12 as being a riot.

The other demands were to punish police officers who they claim used excessive force and drop all charges against protesters. The police have arrested 32 demonstrators, including five for rioting and 10 for violent crimes, over the clashes outside the Legislative Council on June 12.

Lam made a personal apology to the public on Tuesday over her mishandling of the bill, which, if passed, would allow the transfer of suspects to the mainland and other jurisdictions with which the city has no formal extradition agreement.

Protest groups, including teachers, parents, religious officials and two lawmakers gather outside the Chief Executive’s Office on Thursday.(SCMP)

Protest groups, including teachers, parents, religious officials and two lawmakers gather outside the Chief Executive’s Office on Thursday.(SCMP)

But that failed to satisfy protesters, and about 100 people gathered at Legco’s protests zone on Thursday evening, with some having already been there for hours, others several days.

They insisted the government should meet some or all of the four demands from the people, and looked forward to discussing future steps with other protesters.

However, the city’s former top prosecutor Grenville Cross said the chief executive cannot interfere with criminal investigations, as this would be contrary to the city’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law.

“Article 63 makes clear that the control of criminal prosecutions is vested not in the executive, but in the Department of Justice,” he said.

Lam also said on Tuesday that “anybody who has committed an offence has to be brought to justice”.

Even though there was no major movement at 5pm, various pressure groups issued a joint statement, and vowed to begin a non-cooperation movement at 7am on Friday.

They also urged other protesters to gather outside the government’s headquarters at 8pm on Friday, if they could not make it in the morning or afternoon.

Those groups, mainly in Telegram chats, consist of tens of thousands of protesters.

“The movement will last until our demands were being responded to,” the statement reads.

Suggested actions of non-cooperation include picnicking outside the Legco complex, the Chief Executive’s Office, the police’s headquarters, or government House, Lam’s official residence.

Protesters can also choose to strike, boycott their classes, or “pay attention to road safety when using public transport or driving”, while those in professional sectors could also follow up on the police’s use of force by legal means.

A 29 year-old protester, who wished to be unnamed, said he did not expect the government to respond.

We will be at the front line, protecting peaceful protesters. Our principle is still no bloodshed, no injuries and no arrests

Andrew Wan Siu-kin, Democratic Party lawmaker

“The so called deadline is set by netisens,” he said. “When there was no response to two million people who took to the streets, why would she respond to us?”

Democratic Party lawmaker Andrew Wan Siu-kin urged the public to put personal safety first on Friday, when some are expected to protest outside government headquarters in Admiralty.

“We will be at the front line, protecting peaceful protesters,” Wan said. “Our principle is still no bloodshed, no injuries and no arrests.”

Waiter Olaf Leung, 26, said some friends and he were ready to storm the Chief Executive’s Office when conditions were right.

“We will have to see how the government responds and what the police is planning to do,” Leung said. “We will also need a critical mass which must at least be able to occupy the Harcourt Road.”

Another protester, a professional driver who calls himself Orange Head, said different forces in the movement should think about how to collaborate and support each other to carry the fight forward.

“We don’t have to have an unanimous decision on what to do next, but we need coordination of different plans,” he said.

“We should all think about what we can do to join a wider non-cooperation movement. Can we spend the time on shopping and dim sum on Sundays to make the government’s administrative costs higher?”

Separately, some 20 members from 11 social groups and two lawmakers, the Civic Party’s Dr Kwok Ka-ki and the Labour Party’s Dr Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, stood in the baking heat outside the Chief Executive’s Office on Friday afternoon, and called on the city’s leader to meet the young protesters and answer their demands.

They also urged Lam to prevent further clashes between police and young protesters. “Carrie Lam, don’t shoot our kids,” their placards read.

The group vowed to stay overnight outside the Chief Executive’s Office and called on parents, cultural workers and Christians to join them.



Category: Hong Kong

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