Hong Kong protests: Extradition Bill meeting postponed again

Hong Kong protests: Extradition Bill meeting postponed again

Riot police stand guard in Hong Kong after Jun 12 protest
Riot police stand guard after a protest against a controversial extradition law proposal in Hong Kong on Jun 12, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Philip Fong) 

HONG KONG: Hong Kong lawmakers have again postponed a meeting to discuss the extradition Bill, as protestors persevered with their demonstration against the controversial law.

"The President of the Legislative Council has decided that the Council meeting originally scheduled for June 12 will not be held tomorrow (June 14)," the Legislative Council Secretariat said in a statement.

"Announcement will be made once the President determines the time of the meeting," the statement continued.

READ: 'Hong Kong' searches surge behind China's Great Firewall

This is the worst political unrest since Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997.

Protests around the city's legislature on Wednesday had forced the postponement of the debate on the extradition bill, which many people in Hong Kong fear will undermine freedoms and confidence in the commercial hub.

READ: Police face mounting brutality claims after Hong Kong clashes

Reports and images of clashes this week between Hong Kong police and demonstrators protesting the extradition law with mainland China have circulated worldwide.

As of 5pm on Thursday, there were 81 casualties related to the protests, the Hospital Authority said.

Police also arrested 11 people while 22 officers were injured and police had fired about 150 tear gas canisters, Hong Kong Police Commissioner Stephen Lo He said.

READ: Hong Kong police arrest 11, Beijing voices support for action against 'riots'

Police used rubber bullets and tear gas to break up crowds Wednesday after demonstrators - angry over legislation they say would leave people vulnerable to China's opaque justice system - blocked roads and brought the city to a standstill.

Videos of Hong Kong police beating protesters have sparked accusations of brutality.

Amid this, protest organisers have announced plans for another mass rally for Sunday.

So far, Beijing has voiced its support for the Hong Kong government's response to the protests although the international response was different.

The European Union called for the "fundamental right" for people to assemble and express themselves to be respected as it became the latest grouping to add its voice to a growing chorus of criticism of the bill.

British Prime Minister Theresa May said it was vital the proposed law did not breach the deal China agreed to, that is, to allow Hong Kong to retain its freedoms for at least 50 years.

Source: CNA/Agencies/aa