Police expect the largest protest in the city for fifteen years. Hong Kongers denounce a bill that would greatly facilitate the extradition of suspects to mainland China.
After the lawyers marched in silence on Friday, tens of thousands of people began gathering in Hong Kong on Sunday (June 9th) to protest an extradition bill that would facilitate the transfer of suspects to China in order to let them be judged.
The police, who are expecting the biggest demonstration in the city for fifteen years, mobilized more than 2,000 agents to supervise it. The organizers hope more than 500,000 participants. The opposition to the bill brings together a broad front of Hong Kong society, ranging from businessmen to lawyers and students, supporters of democratization and religious communities.
The participants in the march had to leave Victoria Park at 15:00 local time (9:00 am in Paris) to head for Hong Kong Legislative Council (LegCo), where the bill is to be debated starting Wednesday. The participants already on the spot chanted "No extradition to China, no evil law! ", and others have demanded the resignation of Carrie Lam, the executive of the Hong Kong executive.
Criticism against the Chinese judicial system
Perspective changes on the extradition issue aim at simplifying the procedures for sending suspects to third countries or territories such as Mainland China, Macao and Taiwan, in addition to the 20 countries with which Hong Kong already has extradition agreements . But it is the prospect of extradition to the People's Republic of China that alarms Hong Kong.
The former British colony was surrendered to China in 1997 but with guarantees of autonomy and freedoms, including the right to a separate judicial system. Whether in business, religious communities or civil society organizations, the fairness and transparency of China's justice system is strongly contested.