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Protesters demand HK government drop charges

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on June 21, 2019 - Duration: 01:48s

Protesters demand HK government drop charges

Thousands of black-clad protesters blocked roads and surrounded police headquarters in Hong Kong on Friday in the latest demonstrations over an extradition bill that has triggered violent protests and plunged the Chinese-ruled city into crisis.

Francesca Lynagh reports.

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Protesters demand HK government drop charges

Outside the police headquarters, and the government complex.

Protesters in Hong Kong show no sign of giving - as thousands of people dressed in black took to the streets once more on Friday (June 21).

Angry about a controversial extradition bill introduced by the city's leader, Carrie Lam, which would allow the extradition of people in Hong Kong - both locals and foreigners - to stand trial on charges in China.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SENIOR SUPERINTENDENT OF POLICE PUBLIC RELATIONS BRANCH, YOLANDA YU HOI-KWAN, SAYING: ''I would like to reiterate that this is not a clearance operation, we respect the rights of the public to express their wills in a peaceful manner.

After the briefing our negotiating team colleagues will invite and assist you to leave, thank you." Despite the heat, Friday's protesters stood their ground - setting up roadblocks and trapping vehicles in a generally peaceful protest, demanding that the government drop all charges against the 24 people arrested in last week's clashes.

They also want the police charged with what they describe as violent action, and for the protests to stop being referred to as a riot - something which could lead to heavier jail terms. The government has said those at the frontline, charging at police with umbrellas for instance, would be shown no clemency.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) PRO-DEMOCRACY CAMPAIGNER, JOSHUA WONG, SAYING: "They people who occupy outside the police headquarters strongly condemn on violence used by police, just like rubber bullets, head shots at activists.

At the same time, we urge government not to define our demonstrations as riot.

That's why we join this action." The protests peaked last weekend when an estimated 1 million-plus flooding Hong Kong's streets - prompting Lam to apologize to the public after suspending the bill indefinitely.

But for many, that's not enough.

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