Young and old, workers and business executives filled the streets of central Hong Kong to demand the cancellation of the extradition law. Justice and Peace delegation also present. Parents brought their children because they want "a better future" for them. The profound excuses of the chief executive. The "kindness" of the police.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - At least two million people, of all ages and from all walks of life, took part yesterday in the demonstration against the China extradition law.
The gigantic participation - "the greatest demonstration of all time" and Hong Kong has 7.4 million inhabitants - is even more extraordinary, considering that the day before Carrie Lam, the chief executive, had decided to stop discussion of the controversial law indefinitely.
But the organizers of the Civil Front for Human Rights had decided to go ahead with the demonstrations, demanding the complete withdrawal of the law.
Many also demanded the resignation of the Lam, who had called the young - the majority of the protesters - "rioters", justifying the excess use of violence by police.
This morning Joshua Wong, one of the leaders of the "Umbrella Movement" (Occupy Central), who was serving several weeks in prison added his voice to the calls for Lam’s resignation. Released this morning, he immediately declared that Carrie Lam must resign and that the extradition law must be canceled.
The government has claimed that the law closes a "legislative loop hole", allowing the extradition of criminal suspects to China and Taiwan, but lawyers, entrepreneurs, activists, ecclesial personalities fear that it could deliver people to the precarious Chinese legal system, which is not a guarantor of basic human rights.
Furthermore, the law could allow Beijing to demand the extradition of dissidents, fugitives, critical Party activists. Lawyers believe the law would render the Hong Kong legal system a slave to the Chinese, destroying the "one nation, two systems" principle on which the return of the territory to the motherland is based.
Yesterday's demonstration took place in a peaceful manner. Many parents - yesterday was Father's Day in Hong Kong - even brought their little ones in prams or baby carriers. Many of them stated that they wanted to participate "for a better future for their children". There was also a diocesan delegation of Justice and Peace, with their banners.
Protesters had been asked to wear a black T-shirt, as a sign of mourning and pain for the situation on the territory. The march also had one victim, Mr. Leung, who fell from a balcony of Pacific Place, in front of the government offices, while hanging a banner against the extradition law. Many demonstrators had white flowers in his honor, which they placed before his photograph.
Six hours after the demonstration began, Carrie Lam issued a government statement apologizing, promising to "adopt a more sincere and humble attitude, accentuating criticism and improving public service".
In an attempt to improve her image, stained by the violence of recent days, at the end of the event in very late evening, the police "asked, not imposed" the evacuation of the occupied area.