Crowd surround police headquarters to say no to Hong Kong extradition law

Thousands gathered outside the Legislative Council (LegCo) early hours this morning. Joshua Wong called on people to march to police headquarters. The authorities set up a negotiating team to talk to protesters.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Thousands of protesters have gathered near Hong Kong's police headquarters today to demand the resignation of Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader, over a controversial extradition bill that has sparked one of the territory’s biggest political crisis in decades.

Lam, who wanted to introduce the controversial legislative proposal at all costs and with "urgency", ended up “suspending” discussions on the bill in Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (LegCo), after mass demonstrations on 9 June (one million people) and 16 June (over 2 million people).

After police cracked down on groups of young people, Lam even expressed "deep sorrow and regret", saying that she would "improve" communication with the people of Hong Kong and young people in particular.

Early on Friday morning, a large group of protesters began gathering outside the LegCo building, a day after the government ignored a deadline set by a group of students from various Hong Kong universities, demanding the bill be completely scrapped.

Prominent activist Joshua Wong, one of the leaders of the Umbrella movement (Occupy Central), called on people to march towards police headquarters. On Twitter, he also urged Hong Kong Police Commissioner Stephen Lo to "come down and face the people".

Protesters then marched in the searing heat to the police headquarters, many chanting "release the righteous" and "shame on police thugs", references to those taken into custody during last week’s clashes between demonstrators and the police.

Some protesters removed metal barricades and re-arranged them in an apparent bid to fortify their positions outside the police headquarters, as officials closed the gate to the facility's main driveway.

Senior superintendent Yu Hoi Kwan appealed to the crowd, asking them to disperse.

"There (is) . . . a large crowd surrounding the police headquarters which . . . (can) affect police emergency services to the public," Yu told journalists.

She also announced that a negotiating team would be sent to speak with the protesters.