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Hong Kong protesters demand leader Carrie Lam to step down

Reuters Hong Kong | Updated on June 16, 2019 Published on June 16, 2019

Hundreds of thousands of protesters clogged the streets in central Hong Kong on Sunday dressed in black to demand the city’s leader Carrie Lam to step down, a day after she suspended an Extradition Bill in a dramatic retreat following the most violent protests in decades.

The massive rally saw some protesters carry white carnation flowers, while others held banners saying, “Do not shoot, we are HongKonger,” as they sought to avoid a repeat of the violence that rocked the financial centre on Wednesday when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas.

Sea of black

The protesters, including young families as well as the elderly, formed a sea of black along roads, walkways and train stations across Hong Kong’s financial centre.

Loud cheers rang out when activists called for Lam to step down and “step down” echoed through the streets. Protesters also chanted “pursue the black police”, at what they say was an over-reaction by the police that left more than 70 people injured in Wednesday’s violent protest.

Beijing-backed Lam on Saturday indefinitely delayed the Extradition Bill that could send people to mainland China to face trial, expressing “deep sorrow and regret” although she stopped short of apologising.

“Carrie Lam refused to apologise yesterday. It’s unacceptable,” said 16-year-old Catherine Cheung. “She’s a terrible leader who is full of lies ... I think she’s only delaying the Bill now to trick us into calming down.”

Critics say the planned extradition law could threaten Hong Kong’s rule of law and its international reputation as an Asian financial hub.

Activist investor David Webb, in a newsletter on Sunday, said if Lam was a stock he would recommend shorting her with a target price of zero. “Call it the Carrie trade. She has irrevocably lost the public’s trust,” said Webb.

China’s Communist Party mouthpiece, the People’s Daily, said in a commentary on Sunday that central authorities expressed “firm support” for Lam.

Asked repeatedly on Saturday if she would step down, Lam avoided answering directly and appealed to the public to “give us another chance.” Lam said she had been a civil servant for decades and still had work she wanted to do.

Published on June 16, 2019
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