A temporary calm had returned to Hong Kong Monday Morning, hours after the city stunned its leaders and the world with a second record-breaking protest in a week against a controversial extradition bill with China.
Both worker and student strikes have been called for Monday, and hundreds of protesters were still around central government offices in Admiralty. Protesters have made clear that if the government does not take further action, either with resignations of key officials or fully withdrawing the bill, then they will take to the streets again.
The city’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, officially suspended passage of the bill Saturday, following violent clashes between protesters and police earlier in the week. Many had expected the pause and the heavy use of force by police would sap numbers Sunday.
They could not have been more wrong.
Organizers said around 2 million people joined the march, exceeding last week’s 1.03 million. A sea of black-clad protesters filled the streets between the starting point in Victoria Park and the legislature in Admiralty. It took more than eight hours for the last group of marchers to reach the end point.
Many of those in attendance said they felt compelled to march Sunday after seeing images of bloodied protesters at previous demonstrations. Many carried signs with the slogan “Stop Killing Us” and “Civilian, No Headshot Please.” Others carried bunches of white flowers to honor a man who died after falling from a building Saturday.
Police said that 338,000 people followed the protest’s original route. At least three additional streets on either side were filled with protesters, however, and overhead photos showed a far larger crowd than last week or a march in 2003, previously the city’s largest ever protest under Chinese rule.