DEMONSTRATORS holding signs to demand authorities scrap a proposed extradition bill with China, in Hong Kong. (Reuters)
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HONG KONG – Hundreds of thousands of people have marched in Hong Kong against a law critics fear could let China target political opponents in the territory.
The controversial extradition bill would allow suspected criminals to be sent to mainland China for trial.
Organisers said there were one million people, which would make it the biggest march in more than 20 years. Police said there were 240 000 at its peak.
After it ended, clashes erupted between hundreds of demonstrators and police.
Protesters, some wearing surgical masks, tried to break into the Legislative Council complex, throwing crowd control barriers around, and police in riot gear used batons and pepper spray.
Some of the protesters and policemen were later seen with faces covered in blood.
Critics of the bill said those in the former British colony would be exposed to China’s deeply flawed justice system, and it would lead to further erosion of the city’s judicial independence. But supporters said safeguards are in place to prevent anyone facing religious or political persecution from being extradited to mainland China, and that the proposal will plug loopholes.
For several hours yesterday, protesters marched in the sweltering heat dressed in white, in a mainly peaceful demonstration that included a wide range of people – from businesspeople and lawyers to students, pro-democracy figures and religious groups. (BBC)
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