HONG KONG, China – China’s semi-autonomous city of Hong Kong has been rocked since April by protests that were sparked by a proposed extradition law, which its leader said on Wednesday, September 4, will be withdrawn.
The increasingly violent protests have broadened into wider demands for democratic reform.
Here is a summary:
Thousands on the streets
On April 28 tens of thousands of people march peacefully against a Hong Kong government bill that would allow, for the first time, extradition to mainland China.
There are fears the law will tighten Beijing’s grip on civil society.
The demonstration is the biggest since the 1997 handover of the former British colony to China.
It descends into violence when police try to disperse small groups of protesters who hurl bottles and use metal barricades.
Two million protesters
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam postpones the bill on June 15 but a fresh demonstration the next day calls for its full withdrawal.
Organizers say two million people take part.
(READ: Q and A: One umbrella, one movement against China extradition)
Authorities get tough
On August 5 a city-wide strike causes chaos, disrupting public transport and air links.
For a third consecutive night, police confront protesters.
On August 6 China warns “those who play with fire will perish by it”.
On the 18th, some 1.7 million people march peacefully through the streets, according to organizers.
US President Donald Trump warns China that carrying out a Tiananmen Square-style crackdown would harm ongoing talks on a trade accord.
On the 27th, after G7 leaders call for calm, Beijing accuses the group of “meddling”.
On August 30, several prominent democracy activists are arrested. More than 1,000 people have been arrested since June.
On August 31 tens of thousands of people march through the streets in an unsanctioned rally. Hardcore demonstrators hurl petrol bombs and police fire tear gas and deploy water cannon, before making mass arrests inside metro stations.
Extradition law shelved
On September 4, Lam says the extradition bill will be withdrawn.
“Too little, too late,” prominent activist Joshua Wong says.
Protesters are also demanding that Hong Kongers be able to directly elect their leaders and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality. – Rappler.com