Protest intensifies against extradition bill in Hong Kong

HONG KONG, June 12:  In a fresh display of defiance against the contentious bill which allows extradition to China, thousands of protesters gathered here to express their anguish against the government.

The protesters, mostly young people, had arrived as early as Tuesday night, with some clashing verbally with police over the force’s heavy presence. Many have skipped work or class to join, in response to numerous online calls for strikes.

Despite widespread opposition the government has said it will continue to push for extradition. “The legislation is needed to plug legal loopholes and prevent Hong Kong from becoming a haven for fugitives.”, the government source said.

Various segments of society have spoken out against extradition to China in recent days including schools, lawyers and businesses, with hundreds of petitions also in circulation.

A number of businesses and workers also announced that they will go on strike.

Powerful business lobbies said they fear the plans will damage Hong Kong’s competitiveness as a base of operations.

The government has promised legally binding human rights safeguards and other measures it says should alleviate concerns.

Nevertheless, this has led to the largest rallies the territory has seen since it was handed back to China by the British in 1997.

Police said they are also investigating death threats made against Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam and members of the justice department over the bill. (UNI)