Hong Kong protests: Key dates as peaceful rallies against extradition Bill turn to violent clashes

Hong Kong protests: Key dates as peaceful rallies against extradition Bill turn to violent clashes

A Hong Kong protester reacts as he is detained by police officers in Mong Kok
A protester reacts as he is detained by police officers during clashes between demonstrators and police in the Mong Kok on Jul 8, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Vivek Prakash) 

HONG KONG: Millions of people have taken to the streets of Hong Kong over the past few months as protests against the controversial extradition Bill grew into violent clashes between police and protesters.

The Bill, which would have allowed individuals, including foreigners, to be sent to mainland China to face trial, has been declared "dead" by Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam. 

That has failed to appease the demonstrators, who have called for Lam to step down and to withdraw the Bill entirely.

The clashes in July and August were some of the largest and most violent in Hong Kong for decades, prompting Beijing on Tuesday (Aug 6) to warn protesters that they should not underestimate "the immense strength of the central government".

Here is a timeline of the key dates around the 2019 protests:

February – Hong Kong's Security Bureau submits a paper to the city's legislature proposing amendments to extradition laws that would provide for case-by-case extraditions to countries, including mainland China, beyond the 20 states with which Hong Kong already has treaties.

March – Thousands take to the streets of Hong Kong to protest against the proposed extradition Bill. The American Chamber of Commerce expresses serious reservations in a submission to Hong Kong's Secretary for Security, John Lee. It says the Bill will "undermine perceptions of Hong Kong as a safe and secure haven for international business operations".

Apr 3 – Carrie Lam's government introduces amendments to Hong Kong's extradition laws that would allow criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial. Opponents say the changes would put them at the mercy of Chinese courts.

READ: 'One country, two systems': Hong Kong's special status

Anti-extradition bill protesters wear protective equipment during a demonstration near a flag raisi
Anti-extradition bill protesters wear protective equipment during a demonstration near a flag raising ceremony for the anniversary of Hong Kong handover to China in Hong Kong, China July 1, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Apr 28 – Tens of thousands of people march on Hong Kong's parliament to demand the scrapping of the proposed extradition laws.

May 11 – Scuffles break out in Hong Kong's legislature between lawmakers and those loyal to Beijing over the extradition Bill.

May 14 – Hong Kong legislators clash over the proposed law, with some democrats shouting "Scrap the evil law".

May 21 – Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says her administration is determined to push through the Bill despite mounting opposition locally and internationally. Authorities say they will bypass normal legislative procedures to expedite the Bill.

May 30 – Hong Kong introduces concessions to the extradition Bill, including limiting the scope of extraditable offences, but critics say they are not enough. Canada and Britain say it is vital that extradition arrangements fully respect the city's high degree of autonomy from China.

Jun 4 – More than 120,000 students, alumni, staff and parents from 185 secondary schools sign a petition against the extradition law.

Jun 6 – More than 3,000 Hong Kong lawyers take to the streets dressed in black in a rare protest march against the extradition law.

READ: Mooncakes, hymns and post-it notes: The colour of Hong Kong's protests

Protesters rally against a controversial extradition law proposal in Hong Kong
Protesters gesture as they chant "no extradition" as they rally against a controversial extradition law proposal in Hong Kong on Jun 9, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Philip Fong)

Jun 9 – Protest organisers say around a million people rallied against the extradition Bill in a march to government headquarters. Violent skirmishes break out late at night between activists and police. Police put the protest numbers at 240,000.

Jun 10 – Hong Kong vows to press ahead with the extradition Bill despite the mass protest. The US says it is gravely concerned about the proposed amendments.

Jun 11 – Lam remains defiant as she again vows to push ahead with extradition Bill.

Jun 12 – Police fire rubber bullets and 150 canisters of tear gas as the extradition Bill triggers the city's largest and most violent protests in decades.

Jun 13 – Hong Kong authorities shut government offices after a day of violence. China's foreign ministry condemns the behaviour of protesters and voices support for the government.

Jun 14 – Lam indefinitely delays the proposed extradition law in a dramatic retreat after violent street protests.

READ: Commentary: How did Hong Kong, my home, turn into a war zone?

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a press conference at the government headquarters in Hong Kong on Jun 15, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Anthony Wallace)

Jun 16 – Lam issues a written apology to the public after the second massive protest in a week that organisers said drew around two million people.

Jun 18 –The Hong Kong leader signals the end of the controversial Bill but refuses to step down or say the Bill is withdrawn. She apologises in person.

Jun 21 – Thousands of demonstrators blockade police headquarters as the city braced itself for a third weekend of mass protests.

Jun 24 – Beijing says it will not allow leaders at the G20 meeting in Japan to discuss the Hong Kong issue.

Jun 26 – Hong Kong activists call on G20 leaders to help "liberate" the city.

Jun 27 – Fresh protests hit Hong Kong as activists seek a voice at the G20.

Jun 28 – Anti-extradition protesters rally again near government headquarters.

Jul 1 – Fresh protests erupt as Hong Kong marks the 22nd anniversary of the handover from British to Chinese rule. Protesters break into Legislative Council building

READ: Hong Kong police officers’ children ‘intimidated and bullied’ after personal data leaked

Demonstrators try to smash their way into the Legislative Council building in Hong Kong
Demonstrators try to smash their way into the Legislative Council building on Jul 1, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)

Jul 2 – Police said they did not "set a trap" for protesters during Legislative Council raid. 

Jul 5 – Thousands of mothers take to the streets during a peaceful protest. First charges pressed against a protester.

Jul 7 – Rallies take place outside West Kowloon train station. Peaceful until scuffles breakout overnight in Mong Kok.

Jul 9 – Lam says extradition Bill is "dead", but stopped short of withdrawing the Bill.

READ: Nearest place to mainland China’: Hong Kong protest organiser on why they rallied at West Kowloon station

Jul 13 – Thousands of protesters clash with police in the town of Sheung Shui, not far from the Chinese city of Shenzhen.

Jul 14 – Pepper spray and batons used by police on protesters in a shopping mall in Sha Tin.

Jul 15 – Lam calls protesters in latest clashes "rioters".

Jul 20 – Thousands come out in support of the police. Called Safeguard Hong Kong, it was held at Tamar Park, next to the Legislative Council building.

Jul 21 – Clashes in parts of Hong Kong, as police fire tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters. Men dressed in white attack demonstrators and commuters in an MTR station in Yuen Long, leaving 45 injured.

READ: 'I'm not your target': Hong Kong chef recounts how mob beat him with canes and sticks

Jul 22 – Police commissioner Stephen Lo said police officers took longer to respond to the attack at the MTR station because his force was "stretched".

Jul 24 – Anti-government protesters disrupt MTR services during morning rush hour. China's Defence Ministry said Chinese troops stationed in Hong Kong can intervene to help maintain public order, if necessary.

Jul 26 – Rally at Hong Kong International Airport goes peacefully, with hundreds chanting during a sit-down protest in the arrivals hall.

Jul 27 – Protesters and police clash during a banned march near Yuen Long station to rally against the attack by the men in white on Jul 21.

Jul 28 – Thousands joined the Sheung Wan protest, gathering in the heart of the commercial district. Riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters close to Beijing's liaison office. Nearly 50 people arrested.

Jul 30 – Protesters disrupt MTR services during morning rush hour by holding train doors open. On the same day, 44 people are charged with rioting, with a small protest taking place outside the court as Cyclone Wipha hit. Another protest is held outside Kwai Chung police station.

Aug 1 – China's People Liberation Army garrison in Hong Kong releases slick military video. In its caption, it declares it has the "confidence" and "capabilities" to maintain security in Hong Kong.

READ: 'We may lose Christmas': Escalating Hong Kong protests taking bigger toll on shops, economy

Aug 3 – Thousands march through Hong Kong's Mong Kok district, erecting barricades and blocking a major tunnel. Some demonstrators surround Tsim Sha Tsui police station, where officers used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

Aug 4 – Demonstrations take place across Hong Kong, with protesters calling for a mass strike the following day. Violent clashes between police and protesters break out.

Aug 5 – A general strike is called across Hong Kong, with civil servants walking out and joining protests. Several parts of Hong Kong Island, the New Territories and Kowloon are flooded with protesters, as the violence escalates. Police use tear gas and rubber bullets to clear the crowds, as large bonfires are set outside police stations around Hong Kong. More than 200 flights in and out of Hong Kong airport are cancelled. Police say 148 protesters were arrested and 800 tear gas rounds fired on Aug 5 alone.

READ: Hong Kong on 'verge of very dangerous situation', says leader Carrie Lam as she refuses to step down

Hong Kong clashes on Aug 5
Map showing all the clashes in Hong Kong on Aug 5, 2019. (Graphic: Rafa Estrada)

Aug 6 – China's Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office holds a rare press conference, warning demonstrators not to mistake Beijing's restraint for weakness. A total of 12,000 Chinese police officers also take part in an anti-riot training drill in Shenzhen that bore a resemblance to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

More tear gas is fired at night at hundreds of protesters outside Sham Shui Po police station after a Baptist University student was arrested for buying a laser pointer - a tool used by protesters to temporarily blind police officers.  

Aug 7 – Hundreds of Hong Kong lawyers hold a silent march in support of anti-government protesters and to call on the government to safeguard the independence of the city's Department of Justice. 

Hong Kong lawyers march in silence to support democracy protesters
Lawyers and members of the election committee's legal sector hold a silent march in Hong Kong on Aug 7, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Philip FONG)

Later in the night, hundreds of protesters with laser pointers gathered to create a light show at the Hong Kong Space Museum to protest the arrest of a student for buying laser pointers the day before.

Lasers Hong Kong Protests
Protesters huddle behind barriers and shine laser beams at riot police during a confrontation in Tsim Sha Tsui on Aug 3, 2019. (Photo: Steve Leung/HK01 via AP)

Aug 8 – Washington warned US citizens to "exercise increased caution" when travelling to Hong Kong, as new protests at the city's airport are called. The US State Department raised the travel advisory level due to what it termed as "civil unrest".

Aug 9 – China's aviation regulator demands Hong Kong flag carrier Cathay Pacific suspend personnel who have taken part in the protests. The airline suspends a pilot, one of 44 charged with rioting the month before, the next day.         

READ: 'Feed the wolf': Fear stalks Cathay staff after Hong Kong protest sackings

A man walks past a graffiti in Hong Kong
A man walks past a graffiti in Hong Kong, China, Aug 25, 2019. (Photo: Reuters/Willy Kurniawan)

Aug 14 – Police and protesters clash at Hong Kong's international airport after flights were disrupted for a second day. The airport resumed operations later that day, rescheduling hundreds of flights.

Aug 21 – China's biggest e-commerce company Alibaba delays its up to US$15 billion listing in Hong Kong, initially set for late August.

Sep 2 – Lam says she has caused "unforgivable havoc" by igniting the political crisis engulfing the city and would quit if she had a choice, according to an audio recording obtained by Reuters of remarks she made to a group of businesspeople.

Sep 3 – Lam says she had never asked the Chinese government to let her resign to end the Chinese-ruled city's political crisis, responding to the Reuters report.

Sep 4 – Lam announces the formal withdrawal of the extradition Bill that triggered months of protests in the city. The withdrawal of the draft legislation was one of the protesters' key demands. Lam had declared the Bill "dead" in July, but stopped short of withdrawing it.

Cathay Pacific says its chairman John Slosar has resigned from the board "due to his retirement". This follows the departure of CEO Rupert Hogg last month, after the Chinese aviation regulator increased scrutiny on the airline and its staff members following anti-government protests in Hong Kong.

MORE: Our coverage of the Hong Kong protests 

Follow us on Telegram for the latest on Hong Kong: https://t.me/cnalatest

This timeline was first published on Jul 1, 2019 and updated on Sep 4 2019.

Source: Agencies/CNA/mn/mi(hm)/zl