By Jennifer Creery & Tom Grundy.

Close to two million people hit the streets on Sunday to call on the Hong Kong government to withdraw a controversial extradition bill, according to organisers.

hong kong china extradition
An ambulance is pictured surrounded by thousands of protesters dressed in black during a new rally against a controversial extradition law proposal in Hong Kong on June 16, 2019. Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP.

See also: Protesters occupy roads around Gov’t HQ again, as huge anti-extradition law rally escalates

The Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) figure represents 28.5 per cent of the city’s population, and would make the demonstration the largest in Hong Kong history.

It is almost double the turnout figure they gave for last Sunday’s anti-extradition law protest.

Harcourt Road
Harcourt Road. Photo: Anthony Wallace/AFP.

Police claimed 338,000 joined the designated walking route at the peak of the demonstration.

The CHRF – a coalition of pro-democracy groups – said the turnout was almost two million “plus one,” to represent a man who fell to his death on Saturday while protesting the bill. Protesters on Sunday wore all black and carried white funeral flowers to honour the 35-year-old man surnamed Leung.

hong kong china extradition
Photo: Kris Cheng/AFP.

Hong Kong proposed legal amendments in February to allow the city to handle case-by-case extradition requests from jurisdictions with no prior agreements, most notably China and Taiwan.

The bill would enable the chief executive and local courts to handle extradition requests without legislative oversight, although lawyersjournalistsforeign politicians and businesses have raised concerns over the risk of residents being extradited to the mainland, which lacks human rights protections.

On Saturday, following months of criticism, the government said it would postpone the bill and explain it further to the public.

protest china extradition
Photo: Kris Cheng/HKFP.

As night fell on Sunday, demonstrators arriving in Admiralty occupied roads around government headquarters and the legislature, in a repeat of the tactics seen during the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement.

As the crowds swelled, the government said in a statement that that Chief Executive Carrie Lam apologised to the public, adding that she promises to accept criticism with humility and sincerity.

‘Total insult’

CHRF said in a statement that Lam’s response was inadequate: “Truth is, citizens [have taken] to the street again, insisting [on] the withdrawal of the extradition bill and the resignation of Carrie Lam.”

protest china extradition

“Facing such public rage, Carrie Lam simply makes apology through a press release, for ‘the inadequate work of the government’ but not for pushing to pass the bill or police’s crackdown on protesters. She even stressed that she would continue to serve the citizens. This is a total insult to and fooling the people who took to the street! Hong Konger will not accept this!” CHRF added.

Protesters erected supply stations and first aid tents around the occupied zone at Tamar, as many prepared to remain overnight on Sunday.

Harcourt Road
Harcourt Road. Photo: HKFP.

The city has been rocked by a series of protests in recent weeks against the bill. The brief occupation of roads around the legislature on Wednesday ended in violence as police deployed tear gas and rubber bullets against crowds advancing forwards throwing objects.

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Hong Kong Free Press is a new, non-profit, English-language news source seeking to unite critical voices on local and national affairs. Free of charge and completely independent, HKFP arrives amid rising concerns over declining press freedom in Hong Kong and during an important time in the city’s constitutional development.