HONG KONG (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Hong Kong people have gathered for a second day on Sunday in a popular area with Chinese buyers from Mainland China, while the anger and frustration rooted in the government's management of a proposal for extradition refuse to dispel.
The protesters of the anti-extradition law march in Sha Tin District of East New Territories, Hong Kong, China, July 14, 2019. REUTERS / Tyrone Siu
The demonstrators marched in heat of about 32 degrees Celsius (89.6 ° F) in Sha Tin, a city between the island of Hong Kong and the border with China, while the protests move from the heart of the financial center towards the surrounding neighborhoods.
"There is really no faith in China these days, and so the protesters come out," said Jennie Kwan, 73.
"They have not promised 50 years, no change? Yet we have seen all the changes. I myself already have something like 70. What do I know about politics? But politics comes from you."
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with a "one country, two systems" formula that guarantees its people freedoms for 50 years that have not been enjoyed in mainland China, including the freedom to protest and an independent judicial system.
Beijing denies interfering in Hong Kong affairs, but many residents are worried about what they consider an erosion of those freedoms and an unstoppable march towards control over land.
Millions of people have taken to the streets in recent months in some of the biggest and most violent protests in recent decades on an extradition proposal that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for a trial in Communist Party courts.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the bill is "dead", but opponents say they will settle for nothing more than formal withdrawal.
Some protesters at Sunday's event waved the banners by turning to US President Donald Trump for "Liberating Hong Kong" and "Defending our Constitution".
Some protesters beat the battery, while others waved British and American flags, with banners demanding independence for Hong Kong by flying off improvised flagpoles.
The songs of "Carrie Lam go to hell" rang in the crowd.
The protests have fueled the biggest political crisis in the former British colony since China regained control of Hong Kong and poses a direct challenge to the Beijing authorities.
"I have never lost a march so far from June," said a 69-year-old man who only gave his last name, Chen, referring to the wave of protests.
"I support young people, they did something we did not do. There is nothing we can do to help them, but we come out and march to show our appreciation and support."
Critics see the extradition design now suspended as a threat to the rule of law. The protesters also ask Lam to resign and want an independent investigation into police brutality reports.
A woman, in the mid-50s, said the protesters harassed her after trying to defend the police, which the activists described as "dogs".
"It's verbal violence," said the woman, who gave her name only as Catherine. "People have just surrounded me and shouted rude language and this makes me feel that I'm living in fear."
Last Saturday, a largely peaceful demonstration in a city near the Chinese border became violent as protesters threw umbrellas and helmets at the police, who took revenge by swinging their sticks and shooting pepper spray.
The government condemned the violence during Saturday's protests against so-called "parallel merchants" from mainland China who buy loose goods in Hong Kong, to bring to China for profit.
He said that in the last 18 months he had arrested 126 visitors from the continent suspected of violating the terms of their stay by engaging in parallel commercial activities and forbidden the involvement of about 5,000 Chinese from mainland China.
On Sunday, hundreds of journalists joined a silent march to demand better police treatment of the protests.
Reporting by Donny Kwok and Felix Tam; Written by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Clarence Fernandez
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