Nearly two million Hong Kong people joined a parade on June 16 to demand the government scrap a contentious extradition bill and the resignation of the city’s leader, according to organizers.
Human Rights Civil Front (HRCF) announced around 11 p.m. local time on June 16 that the “Black March” during the day drew nearly two million citizens, making it the largest ever demonstration in the city’s history.
This would mean that almost 30 percent of the city’s population attended the rally.
Hong Kong police, meanwhile, said there was 338,000 on the designated protest route during the parade’s peak.
Last week’s mass march on June 6 against the bill saw 1.03 million people taking to the streets, according to HRCF. This week’s turnout nearly doubled the previous protest.
On June 15, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the extradition bill would be suspended indefinitely, but not withdrawn entirely. She also defended the police use of tear gas and rubber bullets during the mass protest on June 16, which resulted in over 80 civilian injuries.
Opponents of the bill, unsatisfied with the decision and dismayed at Lam’s failure to address public concerns, continued to push for the bill’s full retraction and Lam’s resignation.
After an unexpectedly large crowd of protesters poured onto the streets and converged outside the city’s Legislative Council, Lam had made a rare public apology on Sunday, saying she will accept criticism for the controversial extradition bill.
HRCF continues to condemn the lack of actions by Lam’s administration, saying in a statement on Sunday night that Lam’s promise to continue serving the citizens is a “total insult” and an attempt to “[fool] the people who took to the street.”
HRCF also announced another “three suspensions” rally slated for June 17, encouraging people to halt work, classes, and markets to demand a full withdrawal of the bill.
HRCF also called for the release of arrested protesters, for police and Lam to retract their description of the June 12 protest as a “riot”, and for Lam’s resignation.
“Should the government refuse to respond, only more Hong Kongers will strike tomorrow,” HRCF wrote in the statement. “2 million + 1 citizens will take to the street, until their voices are heard.”
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Author: Epoch Times Staff