HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s embattled leader on Saturday suspended a hugely divisive bill that would allow extraditions to China in a major climbdown following unprecedented unrest, but protesters vowed to press ahead with a mass Sunday rally, reports AFP.
The international finance hub was rocked by the worst political violence since its 1997 handover to China on Wednesday as tens of thousands of protesters were dispersed by riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.Those clashes came three days after chief executive Carrie Lam refused to be budged by a record-breaking rally in which organisers said more than a million people marched through the streets calling for the Beijing-backed bill to be scrapped.
After days of mounting pressure—including from her own allies—Lam relented on Saturday, announcing that work on the bill would be halted.
She set no deadline for its reintroduction but stopped short of saying it was permanently scrapped.
The decision was a rare concession from the city’s pro-Beijing leaders who have successfully faced down demands from pro-democracy demonstrators in recent years.
But opponents were unmoved and said they would go ahead with a march on Sunday afternoon, hoping another huge turnout will pile more pressure on the city’s beleaguered leader.
Protest leaders called for Lam to step down and said they would only be mollified by a permanent cancellation of the extradition law.They also demanded police drop rioting charges against protesters and for authorities to apologise for using “excessive force”, an accusation officers deny.