As part of a fresh wave of protests against a contentious extradition bill in Hong Kong, demonstrators surrounded the police headquarter early Friday demanding complete withdrawal of the bill. 

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets around police building and set up barriers to block roads, according to a report by the South China Morning Post.

Hong Kong has been observing massive mass rallies since earlier this month when the local government led by Chief Executive Carrie Lam has brought an amendment to extradition law which will legalize the government to easily extradite suspects to mainland China.

Last week, the anti-extradition bill protests gathered millions of people in the streets across the city where they faced harsh police response. Some of the protesters were arrested following clashes with police forces. 

Bent to the pressure from public demand, Lam government suspended the reading of the bill in the Hong Kong Legislative Council last weekend. 

But the protesters rejected the move demanded completed withdrawal of the proposed bill until Thursday.

Protesters reiterate demands 

Lam offered a public apology to protestors two days ago, however, she refused to withdraw the bill.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency from Hong Kong, Angeline Chan from the Progressive Lawyers Group said the protest would continue till their demands are fulfilled.

The protesters urged the Lam government earlier this week to drop the amendments to the Hong Kong extradition ordinance, not to press charges against protesters, to withdraw her description of protests as riots, to investigate the use of excessive force by the police and that Lam herself steps down.

“The government did not take any step [on demands of protestors],” Chan said over the phone.

“People came out early this morning occupying and blocking roads outside central government headquarter, revenue and police buildings.”

“We are expecting more people will join the protests this evening,” she added.

Friday’s demonstration started with a peaceful sit-in around the police headquarter in Wan Chai, one of the busiest commercial areas of the city, that gradually escalated to road occupation in several other areas.

“If the amendment to ordinance is passed, which most likely will pass through since pro-establishment lawmakers are in majority in the local parliament, any person sought by China will be extradited easily,” the Hong Kong base layer said and added: “But what is more concerning is the new law will not have sufficient safeguards.”

Hong Kong currently has an extradition treaty with 20 countries including the U.S., Canada and New Zealand.

Amnesty finds evidence of police violence 

Meanwhile, the Amnesty International has called on Hong Kong police to “end the unlawful use of force against peaceful protesters”.

The global rights watchdog said that it has verified instances of unnecessary and excessive use of force by police against protestors on 12 June.

“In the footage,” Amnesty verified, “police officers appear out of control, placing peaceful protesters who posed no threat in danger of serious injury.”

“The evidence of the unlawful use of force by police against peaceful protesters on 12 June is irrefutable. In the footage Amnesty has verified, police officers appear out of control, placing peaceful protesters who posed no threat in danger of serious injury,” said Man-kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong.

Hong Kong was a British colony until 1996 and was handed over to China. At present, it remains an autonomous Chinese territory, which makes Beijing responsible for its foreign and defense policies.

Article originally appeared in YeniSafak on 21 June 2019