Hong Kong’s anti-extradition protesters retreated from main thoroughfares around government headquarters on Monday, the morning after the largest protest in the city’s history.
Crowds began to thin out in the early hours as the remaining demonstrators agreed to let police reopen Harcourt Road. The protesters moved back onto Tim Mei Avenue outside the legislature after deliberating among themselves. Traffic began flowing again at around 10.50am.
Earlier in the morning, at around 7:15am, around 200 uniformed and plainclothed police officers unsuccessfully asked protesters to leave the occupied roads. The police presence remained low-key overnight and through the morning, with some officers in riot gear on standby within the grounds of the government complex.
Queensway and Lung Wo Road, which had previously been blocked, were also cleared overnight and reopened to traffic. The Central Government Offices will remain closed on Monday.
Police presence is low-key with some officers in riot gear within the GovHQ grounds & sidelines.
GovHQ will remain closed today.
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) June 17, 2019
Organisers of the protest on Sunday said that nearly two million people had attended “plus one,” to represent a man who fell to his death on Saturday while protesting the bill. Police claimed 338,000 joined the designated walking route at the peak of the demonstration.
In February, Hong Kong proposed legal amendments to allow it 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 critics have raised concerns over the risk of residents being extradited to the mainland, which lacks human rights protections.
Additional Report: Jennifer Creery.
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