This massive number of protestors has not been seen in Hong Kong since it was handed back to China by the British in 1997.

By Ian Horswill

Posted on June 12, 2019

In a new display of defiance against controversial new legislation that will allow wanted criminal suspects to eb extradited to mainland China, thousands of protestors in Hong Kong have blocked all roads to the Parliament.

The protestors, mainly young people, arrived last night (local time), with some clashing verbally with riot police over the heavy presence of the law. Many skipped work or class to join in response to numerous online calls for strikes.

This number of protestors has not been seen in Hong Kong since it was handed back to China by the British in 1997, BBC News reported.

Some protestors erected barricades to block traffic in the heart of the Asian financial centre, with many defying police calls to retreat, in scenes reminiscent of the pro-democracy protests that rocked the city in late 2014, Channel News Asia reported.

Police earlier unfurled an orange flag with the words “Disperse or we fire” to the demonstrators, South China Morning Post reports in a running blog.

The proposed law would allow criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.

On Sunday (local time), a historic march turned the roads around Parliament into a sea of people as organisers claimed 1.03 million took part against the extradition legislation. Police estimated the attendance peaked at 240,000. The mass march ended in chaos as scuffles between police and demonstrators broke out, spilling over into the early hours.

Despite mounting pressure and alleged death threats, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has stood firm, insisting that the bill will be passed as soon as possible, with a final vote expected as early as next Thursday. Lam has insisted that the legislation is needed to plug legal loopholes and prevent Hong Kong from becoming a haven for fugitives.

Various segments of society have spoken out against extradition to China in recent days including schools, lawyers and businesses, with hundreds of petitions also in circulation. Businesses and workers also announced that they will go on strike.

A number of foreign governments, including the US, UK and Canada, have warned the new laws could threaten the territory’s autonomy and status as an international business hub.