The proposal by the tame, Beijing-dominated government of Hong Kong to extradite people to mainland China for a variety of crimes (including political crimes) sparked mass demonstrations that made savvy use of networks and tactics to mobilize a series of actions under the #612strike banner that shut down main arteries and key government buildings.
In the face of the uprising, the local government walked back the extradition proposal, with city leader Carrie Lam apologising for the government's handling of the proposal and announcing that the bill had been delayed (but not scrapped).
The announcement did not diffuse the dissident energy in the city: on Sunday, two million demonstrators in black thronged the street, demanding Lam's resignation — the largest #612strike demonstration to date.
The Chinese authorities have blamed the demonstrations on "anti-China lackeys."
Sunday's demonstration came in spite of Lam indefinitely delaying – though not withdrawing – the bill on Saturday in a dramatic climbdown that threw into question her ability to continue to lead the city.
On Sunday, she apologised for the way the government had handled the draft law, which had been scheduled for debate last Wednesday, but gave no further insight into its fate.
Organisers pressed ahead with the protest to demand the bill's full withdrawal, as well as to mark their anger at the way police handled a demonstration against it on Wednesday, when more than 70 people were injured by rubber bullets and tear gas.
Hong Kong leader says sorry as protesters insist she quits [James Pomfret/Reuters]
TWO. MILLION. PEOPLE. TOOK TO THE STREETS TODAY. This is the single largest protest ever in #HongKong's history. We should all be proud. Carrie Lam has no choice now but to withdraw the extradition bill completely and resign immediately! pic.twitter.com/v7Zh5PlOob
— Jeffrey Ngo 敖卓軒 (@jeffreychngo) June 16, 2019