' 1.7 million' take part in Hong Kong protests

China condemns US lawmakers’ support for Hong Kong protests

The demonstrations began in June, initially in response to a controversial bill that would have allowed for extraditions from Hong Kong to mainland China.

Sunday's pro-democracy rally, attended by hundreds of thousands, concluded a rare peaceful weekend in the city, which has been beset by violent clashes between protesters and police. The overwhelming turnout brought traffic in the dense city center to a standstill.

People take part in the "Reclaim Hung Hom and To Kwa Wan, Restore Tranquility to Our Homeland" demonstration against the extradition bill in To Kwa Wan neighborhood, Hong Kong on August 17, 2019.

Protesters also blocked roads in Western and Central districts, Admiralty, Wanchai, Causeway Bay and Tin Hau.

In the last two months millions of people have hit the streets while clashes have broken out between police and small groups of hardcore protesters. Police presence was minimal throughout Sunday's event.

He criticised the police for firing tear gas, rubber bullets and beanbag rounds on the protesters and even near elderly-care homes.

As NPR's Anthony Kuhn reports, organizers of Sunday's protest wanted to show that they could still hold peaceful demonstrations and that the movement was not tarnished by prior violence.

He hoped there would be no tear gas Sunday, but added that wish was "not practical".

"There's a consensus everyone will be restrained", Wong Yik-Mo, one of the leaders of the pro-democracy Civil Human Rights Front told The Washington Post.

The 22-year-old worldwide student said she supports the "one country, two systems" principle, but the protests should be done in an "appropriate" and "peaceful" way.

Some observers believe that the repeated use of such language suggests that China is losing patience with the protesters and signals that an intervention by Beijing is increasingly likely.

"If [the Hong Kong Government and Beijing] think they can simply wait for our campaign to die down, they are dead wrong", says Bonnie Leung, vice-convener of CHRF.

"This is not just for the issue of our own freedom, it's also for human dignity", Ng said.

Sunday's rally at the city's Victoria Park is an attempt to wrestle the narrative of the protest back.

Hong Kong Cardinal John Tong has requested that the extradition law be completely scrapped, calling for an independent inquiry into the excessive use of force by security officials.

Protesters have used slingshots to fire marbles at police, shone lasers at them and at times thrown bricks and firebombs. The student has since been released.

So far, about 750 people have been arrested for offenses including rioting, unlawful assembly, assaulting police, possessing weapons and obstructing police in the performance of their duty, according to the police.

"Today Hong Kong, tomorrow Asia and the next day Europe", one protester's placard read.

Braving thunderstorms, thousands of Hong Kongers attended a teachers' march to express their dissatisfaction with the government and police.

Streets became a river of rainbow umbrellas - the symbol of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement - as protesters of all ages chanted "Reclaim Hong Kong, revolution of our era!"

"I'm heartbroken to see the city being split up like this", a retired telecoms technician, Michael Law, 69, told Reuters at the pro-police rally.

"It's terrifying. This is very important to Canadians because there are about half a million Canadians in Hong Kong right now".

"This is Canada. We have the constitutional right to freedom of expression".

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote on Twitter: "The Chinese Communist Party must face consequences..."

"They are enjoying the good life here, but they don't want people to fight for it", said Yim.

Hogg, who began as chief executive in 2017 and has been leading the airline's three-year transformation plan, said it had been an honour to lead the airline and expressed confidence in the future of Hong Kong as one of Asia's key aviation hubs.

"They've been telling everyone we're rioters".

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