Authorities have shut some government offices in Hong Kong's financial district after the worst violence the city has seen in decades.By Thursday morning the crowds had largely dispersed around government headquarters - where police and protesters had pitched battles on Wednesday.The protesters are angry about plans to allow extradition to mainland China.Despite the widespread opposition, the government has not backed down.However, Hong Kong's Legislative Council (LegCo) delayed a second reading of the controversial extradition bill and it is unclear when it will take place.How did the violence unfold?The second reading or debate over the extradition bill was originally scheduled for Wednesday.In an attempt to prevent lawmakers from participating in the debate, activists in the tens of thousands of blockaded key streets around the government headquarters in central Hong Kong. Police was also out in riot gear.Later the tensions boiled over as protesters tried to storm key government buildings demanding the bill be scrapped.Media captionHong Kong protesters force way into government building police responded by firing tear gas and rubber bullets to block them and get them to disperse. After hours of chaos, the crowd eventually dissipated overnight.Rights group Human Rights Watch accused the police of using "excessive force" against protesters.As it happened: Hong Kong protests turn ugly you need to know about the protestsTelegram founder links cyber attack to ChinaHong Kong-China extradition plans explained who are the protesters?Seventy-two people aged between 15 and 66 were injured in the violence, including two men who were in critical condition and some 21 police officers, nine of whom were taken to hospital.Two protesters have now been arrested for rioting, according to news site SCMP.An SCMP reporter said they were detained while trying to get a check-up in a hospital. They had reportedly revealed to medical officers that their injuries were a result of the protests.It is not clear if they are the same men who were described as critical.A Telegram group administrator has also been arrested for conspiracy to commit public nuisance, local news outlets reported.Ivan Ip was said to be the administrator of a group chat on Telegram - which has been used as one of the main channels of communication by protesters - which had 30,000 members.Reports say he is being accused of plotting with others to charge the LegCo building and blocking other neighboring roads.Image copyright BBC NEWSAfter the violence on Wednesday, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, in a tearful address, called the protests "organized riots", and dismissed accusations that she had "sold out" Hong Kong.Only a handful of protesters remained in the central business district in the city on Thursday morning, though some roads and a downtown shopping mall still remain closed, said local broadcaster RTHK.Image captioning man remained picking up rubbish from the streetsImage captionThere is still a strong police presence around the downtown areas of the cityWhat we learned about Hong Kong's youth Martin Yip, BBC News Chinese, Hong KongThe morning after the most violent protests Hong Kong has seen in decades, the scene outside the Legislative Council complex is quiet.Debris is strewn about the roads - umbrellas, surgical masks - the aftermath of a serious confrontation.Areas are still being cordoned off by police in riot gear, but there are no signs of protesters returning.There is one elderly man shouting at police - he might seem like a lone voice, but anger against the police use of force is widespread.As things stand, there is no fixed date for the reading of the extradition bill, although we'd expect that to happen next week.Many members of the public, and the government will feel a sense of shock.They all learned something about Hong Kong's youth: the strength of their feeling about Hong Kong's political integrity is not to be underestimated.They also showed they can get organized very quickly and they are willing to take more radical measures than the generation that led the Occupy protests five years ago.What is the extradition plan?The government of Carrie Lam has proposed amendments to the extradition laws that would allow extradition requests from authorities in mainland China, Taiwan and Macau for suspects accused of criminal wrongdoing such as murder and rape.The requests would be decided on a case-by-case basis.The move came after a 19-year-old Hong Kong man allegedly murdered his 20-year-old pregnant girlfriend while they were holidaying in Taiwan together in February last year.The man fled to Hong Kong and could not be extradited to Taiwan because the two do not have an extradition treaty.Hong Kong has entered into extradition agreements with 20 countries, including the UK and the US, but an agreement with China has never been reached.Why are people angry about it?Hong Kong was a British colony from 1841 until sovereignty was returned to China in 1997.It is now part of China under a "one country, two systems" principle, which ensures that it keeps its own judicial independence, its own legislature, and economic system.Beijing's struggle to win Hong Kong's young hearts Hong Kong handover in a nutshell timeline of Hong Kong's history but people in Hong Kong are worried that should the extradition bill pass, it would bring Hong Kong more decisively under China's control.Image copyrightREUTERSImage captionDemonstrators are worried about what the passing of the bill would mean for Hong Kong"Hong Kong will just become another Chinese city if this bill is passed," one 18-year-old protester told the BBC.Most people in Hong Kong are ethnic Chinese but the majority of them don't identify as Chinese - with some young activists even calling for Hong Kong's independence from China.Critics of the bill, including lawyers and rights groups, also say China's justice system is marred by allegations of torture, forced confessions and arbitrary detentions.But Ms. Lam's government says the amendments are required to plug loopholes in the law that effectively make Hong Kong a haven for those wanted on the mainland.She has also said there will be legally binding human rights safeguards.What could happen next?Protests have quietened down for now but protesters are expected to return when the second reading of the bill eventually takes place.This time, police officers will be better prepared and it is possible that there could be a repeat of the violence that took place on Wednesday.Media captionPolice use tear gas on protesters but despite the protests, the bill is not likely to be scrapped - and this is due to the makeup of Hong Kong's parliament.The LegCo is elected in a very complex way, with not all seats directly chosen by Hong Kong's voters. Most seats not directly elected are occupied by pro-Beijing lawmakers likely to throw their support behind the bill.The passing of the bill is an outcome local protesters are unlikely to accept. In the end, it's going to come down to a battle of wills.
Activists in Hong Kong have called for a march on Sunday and a boycott of work and classes on Monday in protest against an extradition bill that could result in suspects being sent to mainland China.On Thursday, a day after a demonstration by thousands of people was violently cleared, a group of pro-democracy politicians and activists tried to march on the residence of Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, but were stopped by police.“We need to come out in unity. We call on all demonstrators. We can win if all of us come out,” said Lee Cheuk-yan, a politician and activist, condemning the police and Lam, who has been pushing the bill.Debate in the Legislative Council over the bill was postponed again on Thursday. The proposed law, which critics say Beijing could use to target political enemies in Hong Kong, has brought up to a million people on to the streets to protest. Beijing and Hong Kong authorities insist the law is aimed at combating crime.Quick guideWhat are the Hong Kong protests about?ShowDemonstrators and observers were shocked by the violence of Wednesday, when police charged on protesters, firing rubber bullets and teargas. At least 72 people were taken to hospital, two of whom were in a serious condition.“Emotionally, it’s devastating,” said Yoyo Chan, who has been staging a hunger strike and sit-in on a path just outside the government headquarters. After the protests were cleared on Wednesday, she went to help clean up rubbish left on the streets and found a backpack abandoned by a protester – a young girl, according to her ID card left behind.“She’s so young. [The protesters] are so hopeful and just want to help the city. The way they were oppressed yesterday, it’s heartbreaking,” Chan said.The city was slowly returning to normal after a shutdown on Wednesday. By Thursday morning main traffic arteries had been reopened and evidence of the protests – piles of broken goggles, bottles and umbrellas – had been shunted to the side of the road. Dozens of police patrolled the central Hong Kong area. Several shops in a mall near the site of the protests were shut.The mood was mostly upbeat on Thursday as dispersed groups of demonstrators organised supplies, cleaned up litter and chatted. In Tamar Park, outside the Legislative Council building where lawmakers will debate the proposed bill, a circle of demonstrators were singing worship songs accompanied by a saxophonist.Others were more defiant. A few dozen protesters on an overpass leading into the government complex faced off with police blocking their way. The group stood in silence, holding up laminated signs that said “Retract” and “Go Hong Kong”.Later in the day a new group arrived and held signs that said “Stop police brutality”. Secondary school students held signs up to the police that said “Stop shooting Hong Kong students”. One group of protesters chanted: “Stop all violence. Peace and love come to Hong Kong.” Mike Tsang, 23, a recent graduate, said: “We are coming here to show the police we won’t give up.”Nearby another group was sorting bags of helmets, face masks and other supplies, and trying to find places around the city to hide the items for when the protesters return. “Today we are safe,” said one of the protesters.Quick guideDemocracy under fire in Hong Kong since 1997ShowIn Tamar Park, another group was organising stations for food and water, first aid, and legal advice from social workers. A group of secondary students had come directly from school to bring snacks and fruit to the protesters, who planned to stay there until midnight. Some would camp overnight to keep watch over the supplies.Some worried that the postponement of the debate was a ruse to throw off demonstrators. A group of university students huddled in a shopping mall near the government buildings, texting contacts to mobilise a group to gather outside the Legislative Council and block any lawmakers in favour of the bill from entering.“Our only chance is to stop the lawmakers from coming in,” said Jason Fong, 19, who said lawmakers could go in on Thursday, stay overnight and hold the reading of the bill on Friday.The crackdown on the protests represented an escalation of police action against demonstrators. Pictures and videos on social media showed police firing rubber bullets and bean-bag rounds from shotguns, teargassing protesters and beating some with batons.1:38 Hong Kong police deploy rubber bullets and teargas on protesters – video reportMan-kei Tam, the director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said: “This excessive response from police is fuelling tensions and is likely to contribute to worsening violence, rather than end it.”Two protesters treated in hospital were arrested, according to local media. Protesters have been obscuring their faces with masks and using encrypted messaging platforms.On Wednesday as police were clearing protests, the messaging service Telegram posted on Twitter that it was facing a “powerful DDos attack”, referring to a distributed denial of service attack, that originated in China.Despite the wave of opposition, Lam remains determined to put the bill to a vote, which would be likely to pass because of the dominance of pro-Beijing lawmakers in the legislature. Speaking on Wednesday evening, Lam said: “If I let him have his way every time my son acted like that, such as when he didn’t want to study, things might be OK between us in the short term. But if I indulge his wayward behaviour, he might regret it when he grows up. He will then ask me: ‘Mum, why didn’t you call me up on that back then?’” she said.SCMP News(@SCMPNews)Through tears, Carrie Lam says that she did not sell out #HongKong and that she believes the government has been doing the right thing all along. https://t.co/3Q6rl13yK8 pic.twitter.com/UQjhC0CsrfJune 13, 2019Lam has the support of Beijing. In an an English-language editorial, the state-run China Daily blamed “the opposition camp and its foreign masters” for riling up residents. “It is lawlessness that will hurt Hong Kong, not the proposed amendments to its fugitive law,” it said.How are you being affected by the Hong Kong protests? Read moreThe demonstrators disagree, pointing to the sense of community and collaboration fostered. Yau Wai Ping, an associate professor at Hong Kong Baptist University who was participating in a hunger strike, said: “The protest is bringing people together. The bill affects us all.”She added: “We don’t know whether we are going to achieve what we set out to, but long-term I am quite optimistic. So many positive things have come out of this. Long-term it will be the beginning of a new era, of the kind of community and civil society we want to make.”Since you’re here…… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting our independent, investigative reporting than ever before. And unlike many news organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford.The Guardian is editorially independent, meaning we set our own agenda. Our journalism is free from commercial bias and not influenced by billionaire owners, politicians or shareholders. No one edits our editor. No one steers our opinion. This is important as it enables us to give a voice to those less heard, challenge the powerful and hold them to account. It’s what makes us different to so many others in the media, at a time when factual, honest reporting is critical.
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