Hong Kong protesters surround downtown police complex

Sunday, June 23, 2019

On Friday, thousands of Hong Kong protesters wearing black clothes, face masks, and helmets gathered around Hong Kong's principal police complex, blocking the exits as they chanted slogans and threw eggs. This comes after weeks of protests against a proposed change to Hong Kong's extradition law that would allow the Chinese government to remove people who had been accused of crimes from Hong Kong to the mainland.

Friday's protest began at the Legislative Council Complex (shown) before moving to police headquarters.
Image: Tksteven.

The protest began outside the Legislative Council Complex but later moved a few blocks to the Hong Kong Police Headquarters, with some protesters heading for Revenue Tower instead.

The bill in question would allow people living in or visiting Hong Kong, including fugitives, to be removed to mainland China and subjected to its legal system, which the BBC describes as "marred by allegations of torture, forced confessions and arbitrary detentions."

The bill was suspended after last week's protests, one of which drew two million people. Hong Kong student groups had given the government until Thursday to throw it out entirely, but this deadline was not met.

Protesters' demands include investigation of alleged police violence against protesters on June 12, the release and dropping of charges against protesters who were arrested, that the government cease referring to the protests as "riots," and complete dismissal of the extradition bill. They had asked Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who is supported by the mainland Chinese government, to resign from her position, but this has been dropped from the list of demands. Legal and religious groups have also called for the bill to be dropped.

The British relinquished control of Hong Kong to China in 1997. Since then, the territory has been governed under the "one country, two systems" model, meaning the Chinese government has allowed Hong Kong citizens more freedom than people in the rest of the country. Specifically, Hong Kong has its own legislature, justice system and remains under a capitalist economic system.