Hong Kong's 2016 Umbrella Revolution saw weeks of mass protests over a change to nomination rules for the city's ruling council, in which the central government in Beijing arrogated to itself the right to decide who could be on the ballot (Boss Tweed: "I don't care who gets to do the voting, so long as I get to do the nominating").
Three years later, the authoritarian rule of Beijing is closer than ever to Hong Kong, with brazen kidnappings of pro-democracy booksellers who were then rendered to the mainland and coerced into televised "confessions."
Now, the tame Hong Kong council is seeking to formalize this system of kidnappings and coercion with a law that would allow for Hong Kong citizens to be extradited to mainland China, leading to massive protests on a scale not seen since the Umbrella Revolution (the current wave of protesters are also carrying umbrellas, this time to deflect tear-gas and pepper-spray attacks).
The protests are being carried out under the #612strike banner (the related photos and videos are incredible, heartening and distressing by turns).
More than one million protesters have repeatedly shut down the city's main arteries and blockaded its key buildings. They're not just braving police brutality, either: it's impossible to overstate how hot, humid and rainy Hong Kong is at this time of year; it may sound like a small thing, but marching in this weather, let alone being kettled without shade or drinking water, is a major physical feat.
Black-shirted protesters wearing helmets and goggles taunted police outside the complex as they descended on the streets against the bill which, critics say, will undermine the city's civil freedoms in its "one China, two systems" structure.
The frontline of demonstrators in hard hats, their faces covered with masks, moved metal crowd control barriers, ignoring police pleas to stop. After several failed attempts, the crowd gained access to the grounds of the building and the police released more tear gas to push them back.
After the majority of the crowd was dispersed, about 100 demonstrators could be seen donning gas masks and holding their ground at one section of the complex.
— Lynette Nam (@LynetteNam) June 12, 2019