Hong kong: Protesters demand extradition bill scrap after violence

Source:Reuters

Hong Kong authorities were shutting government offices in the city’s financial district for the rest of the week after a day of violence over an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial.

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On Thursday a few hundred protesters milled around with some sorting their supplies of face masks and food as a widespread cleanup around the city’s legislature took place.

Security remained tight with scores of uniformed police with helmets and shields in the area, while a long row of police vans were stationed alongside. Plain clothes police officers checked identification of morning commuters.

Police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray in a series of skirmishes on Wednesday to clear demonstrators from the city’s legislature. It was some of the worst violence in Hong Kong since Britain handed it back to Chinese rule in 1997.

The Hong Kong Hospital Authority said 72 people had been hospitalized by 10 p.m. on Wednesday.

The extradition bill, which will cover Hong Kong residents and foreign and Chinese nationals living or traveling through the city, has sparked concerns it may threaten the rule of law that underpins Hong Kong’s international financial status.

Wednesday night was the third night of violence since a protest on Sunday drew what organizers said was more than a million people in the biggest street demonstration since the 1997 handover.

Overnight several thousand demonstrators remained near the legislature in the Admiralty district, while thousands more retreated to the Central business district, overlooked by the towers of some of Asia’s biggest firms and hotel chains, including HSBC and AIA.


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