Bill Triggers Protests In Hong Kong

Samantha Horvath

Protests have broken out across the colony of Hong Kong, starting as early as March 15th of last year, because of proposed legislation of the extradition bill. The extradition bill allows for the deportation of individuals who have been accused or convicted of crimes in Hong Kong.  

The early suspension of the bill was promised by Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, after protests broke out on June 12th and ended in clashes between activists and police. This protest, surrounding the Legislative Council, ended with more than 81 injuries in which police deployed tear gas, rubber bullets, and beanbag rounds. This police brutality led to the unprecedented results of a future march in June. 

On June 16th nearly two million citizens went into the streets again to press for five core demands. These demands include the withdrawal of the bill, investigation into the alleged police brutality and misconduct, release of the arrested protesters, a complete retraction of the official characterisation of the protests as “riots” and the resignation of Chief Executive Carrie Lam along with universal suffrage for the election of the Legislative Council and Chief Executive. After this event, the government of Hong Kong continued to ignore the demands. Some citizens have developed a sense of fatality, willing to risk jail time of up to 10 years to fight for these five demands. 

The following month, the protests descended into chaos after riot police fired tear gas and rubber bullets as well as a pro-government mob armed with batons attacked protesters in the Yuen Long MTR station. This event caused 45 people to be hospitalized, with one person in critical condition.

Chow Tsz-lok, a 22-year-old student, died several days later after falling from a parking garage near where police dispersed protesters inside. He was found unconscious in a pool of blood after police tear gassed protesters in the parking garage. Police say it appeared that he fell one story although what caused his death is disputed. After this, thousands took part in a memorial for him and protested across the city that following Friday. That upcoming Monday, violent clashes spread across the city. A police officer shot an activist and across the city, a man was set on fire after an argument.

Recent clashes have become increasingly violent with live bullets being fired and protesters attacking officers and throwing petrol bombs.