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HK protesters gather outside parliament after end of ultimatum

Punjab News Express | June 21, 2019 11:47 AM

HONG KONG: Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Hong Kong parliament on Friday, a day after the end of a deadline to the region's leader to completely withdraw a contentious extradition bill, among other demands.

The protesters, most of them students dressed in black, arrived at the Legislative Council (LegCo) complex, accompanied by opposition lawmakers and also demanded the release of all those detained to date as well as an investigation into police actions during the protests, reports Efe news.

Representatives of opposition movements in Hong Kong on Thursday issued the ultimatum to Chief Executive Carrie Lam to permanently withdraw the extradition bill or be prepared for new protests such as those that have been witnessed in recent weeks.

Pro-democratic opposition newspaper Apple Daily called for fresh protests from Friday if Lam did not accept the demands by 5 p.m. on Thursday.

One of Hong Kong's most prominent student activists, Joshua Wong, 22, who is widely known for his leading role in the 2014 pro-democracy protests, had told Efe news that they had not made the ultimatum but that they supported it.

Some of the demonstrators gathered in the front of the parliament carrying placards asking the police not to fire in reference to the violence that broke out between police officials and protesters last week.

Other groups of protesters congregated outside the offices of the Chinese government located nearby and in the adjacent Tamar Park while police cordoned off access to the local headquarters of the People's Liberation Army.

The offices at the legislative complex as well as the headquarters of the local government, located nearby, have been closed for security reasons.

Organizers have also made a call on social media for protests on roads and public transport and urged people to gather in other parts of the city to show their support.

On Tuesday, Lam at a press conference offered her "most sincere apology to all people of Hong Kong" and asked its citizens to give her another opportunity so that her government could rebuild trust.

The chief executive has put the proposed extradition bill on hold but refused to scrap it.

The extradition bill has been met with opposition from various sectors of society on the grounds that Hong Kong would lose its judicial independence and, according to human rights organizations, it would allow activists, non-profit workers and journalists to be tried in the Mainland's judicial system which offers no guarantees.

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