Hong Kong protests over China extradition bill

11:27 a.m. ET, June 12, 2019

At least 72 people injured in Hong Kong protests

A protester is helped by medical volunteers after being hit by tear gas fired by the police during a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019.
A protester is helped by medical volunteers after being hit by tear gas fired by the police during a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. Anthony Wallace/AFP/Getty Images

At least 72 people have been treated at hospitals for injuries sustained in the Hong Kong protests, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong Information Bureau tells CNN.

The ages of the injured range from 15 to 66 years old.

Of the 72 injured, 50 are male and 22 are female. 

Injury breakdown:

  • 2 males are in serious condition
  • 14 males in stable condition
  • 5 females in stable condition
  • The condition of 10 people is unknown

There have not been any deaths, the spokesperson said. It is unknown if any of the injured are police.

10:56 a.m. ET, June 12, 2019

Amnesty International: Police must end excessive force against largely peaceful protest in Hong Kong

A police officer fires tear gas during clashes with protesters in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
A police officer fires tear gas during clashes with protesters in Hong Kong on Wednesday. PHILIP FONG/AFP/Getty Images

Amnesty International said police's use of forces against protesters in Hong Kong is "a violation of international law," adding that officers have "taken advantage of the violent acts of a small minority as a pretext to use excessive force against the vast majority."

Earlier today, police used tear gas and rubber bullets to push back against protesters rallying against a controversial extradition bill.

“The ugly scenes of police using tear gas and pepper spray against overwhelmingly peaceful protesters is a violation of international law. Police have a duty to maintain public order, but in doing so they may use force only when strictly necessary. Hong Kong’s police have today failed to live up to this standard," Man-Kei Tam, Director of Amnesty International Hong Kong, said in a statement.

The statement continued:

“The police have taken advantage of the violent acts of a small minority as a pretext to use excessive force against the vast majority of peaceful protesters.
Tear gas and projectiles like rubber bullets are notoriously inaccurate and indiscriminate and can result in serious injury and even death. They should only ever be used in a targeted response to specific acts of violence and never to disperse peaceful protesters.
This excessive response from police is fueling tensions and is likely to contribute to worsening violence, rather than end it. We urge the Hong Kong police not to repeat such abuses against peaceful protesters, and instead ensure people can legitimately exercise their rights. We also remind police that using force against protesters already brought under control is unlawful.”
10:33 a.m. ET, June 12, 2019

Who is against the extradition bill — and who is for it

The massive protests in Hong Kong have centered on a controversial extradition bill.

The proposed law would allow Hong Kong to extradite fugitives to territories where it doesn't have formal extradition deals — including mainland China.

Critics believe the bill would will leave anyone on Hong Kong soil vulnerable to being grabbed by Chinese authorities. But supporters said it will prevent the city from becoming a haven for mainland fugitives.

Here's a look at the parties on both sides:

Who's against the bill

  • Civil rights activists: Critics say the bill will leave anyone on Hong Kong soil vulnerable to being grabbed by the Chinese authorities for political reasons or inadvertent business offenses and undermine the city's semi-autonomous legal system.
  • Businesses and trade unions: More than 100 firms said they would shut doors Wednesday to protest the bill and allow employees to join a rally outside the legislature. Trade unions have also suggested they might call on members to stop work in protest.
  • Journalists: Earlier this year, the Hong Kong Journalists Association said in a statement that the amendment would "not only threaten the safety of journalists but also have a chilling effect on the freedom of expression in Hong Kong."
  • Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Taiwan's Foreign Minister Joseph Wu tweeted in support of the anti-extradition protests: "I stand shoulder to shoulder with the hundreds of thousands in #HongKong fighting the extradition bill & for rule of law. Please know you are not alone. #Taiwan is with you! The will of the people will prevail!"
  • European and US agencies: Representatives from the European Union have met with Hong Long leaders and expressed concern over the bill. Members of the US Congressional-Executive Commission on China have also spoken out against the bill, warning it could "negatively impact the relationship between the United States and Hong Kong."

And who's for it

  • Hong Kong's leader: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has refused to withdraw the extradition bill, saying it is needed to plug loopholes to prevent the city from becoming a haven for mainland fugitives.
  • China's Foreign Ministry: Chinese officials have supported the Hong Kong government as it attempts to table to the bill in Parliament.
9:41 a.m. ET, June 12, 2019

Protesters are rallying against a controversial bill. Here's what it would do.

Protesters react after police fired tear gas during a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
Protesters react after police fired tear gas during a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on Wednesday. ANTHONY WALLACE/AFP/Getty Images

Protesters in Hong Kong have spent days demonstrating against a proposed extradition law.

Here's what you need to know about the bill:

  • What the bill would do: The proposed law would allow Hong Kong to extradite fugitives to territories where it doesn't have formal extradition deals, including mainland China, Taiwan and Macau. 
  • What it could could mean: Opponents of the bill say it could mean democracy activists, journalists and foreign business owners could be surrendered to mainland China.
  • Why this issue is so sensitive: Remember: Hong Kong is a semi-autonomous city, which has a separate legal system and political system to mainland China. It allows citizens to enjoy freedoms not protected on the mainland. Although Hong Kong is part of China, it has separate laws that follow the UK system and no capital punishment, unlike mainland China.

9:08 a.m. ET, June 12, 2019

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei "totally opposes" the Hong Kong bill

Maja Hitij/Getty Images
Maja Hitij/Getty Images

Prominent Chinese artist Ai Weiwei said he totally opposes the controversial Hong Kong extradition bill and said he has no confidence in Hong Kong’s government.

 "We have seen the Hong Kong people, young people mostly defending their rights. But this has to happen because no body trusts China’s judicial system," he said.

About the bill: The proposed law would allow Hong Kong to extradite fugitives to territories where it doesn't have formal extradition deals, including mainland China. Opponents of the bill say it could mean democracy activists, journalists and foreign business owners could be surrendered to mainland China.

Ai criticized the Hong Kong government, saying it has sided with the Chinese government. Here's how he put it: 

“I totally oppose the bill because I have no confidence in Hong Kong’s government, which is not democratically elected. Its in favor with Chinese government. So I don’t think they can do anything to reflect the need of Hong Kong people but rather to listen to the central government.” 
8:54 a.m. ET, June 12, 2019

Thousands of protesters remain, but they're scattered. Here's what it looks like now.

Protesters rallying against Hong Kong's controversial extradition bill have been cleared from the Legislative Council building area — but thousands remain on the surrounding roads.

In front of City Hall, a large number of protesters are attempting to reinforce their improvised barrier across Harcourt Road.

Protesters gather on Harcourt Road in front of City Hall.
Protesters gather on Harcourt Road in front of City Hall. Rebecca Wright

In front of Pacific Place on Queensway, lines of police are holding the road in stages, while a couple thousand protesters gather in front of barricades.

Protesters gather by on Queensway as police look on.
Protesters gather by on Queensway as police look on. Jo Shelley

CNN's James Griffiths is on the ground. He says protests have stalled somewhat on Cotton Tree Drive and Queensway heading towards Central: Both groups of protesters have been fairly stationary for at least 30 mins.

Barricades by Pacific Place where crowds of protesters are gathered.
Barricades by Pacific Place where crowds of protesters are gathered. James Griffiths

CNN's Julia Hollingsworth, who is also on the ground, says that though the number of protesters may have dropped from earlier in the day, there are still thousands spread across Admiralty and Central districts.

Crowds on Connaught Road leading to Central district.
Crowds on Connaught Road leading to Central district. Julia Hollingsworth

People are moving towards Central, with a much bigger crowd there at 8 p.m. local time than a few hours before.

Protesters move towards Central, with crowds near World Wide House between Connaught Road Central, Pedder Street and Des Voeux Road Central.
Protesters move towards Central, with crowds near World Wide House between Connaught Road Central, Pedder Street and Des Voeux Road Central. Julia Hollingsworth

9:35 a.m. ET, June 12, 2019

Freedom was removed from us "piece by piece," protester says

Suki Ma, a 27-year-old building surveyor, said she wasn’t surprised the police used force, although she was quite angry.

"They (protesters) did not do anything against the police," she said. “Carrie Lam didn’t do anything for Hong Kong people."

Some background: Police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters in Hong Kong on Wednesday, hours after tens of thousands of mostly young people surrounded the city's government headquarters. They're rallying against a controversial bill that would allow fugitives to be extradited to China. Carrie Lam, the leader of Hong Kong, has defended the bill.

Ma said she will keep fighting until the end, as she believes this will be Hong Kong’s last protest, although she doesn’t plan to stay the night as it may be too dangerous.

“The Chinese government want to take our freedom,” she said. “We have freedom when we are born. After 1997 (when Hong Kong was handed back to China by the British), it was piece by piece removed from us.”

She didn’t believe the protests would ultimately change anything, but she came out anyway.

“We cant change the final ending. It will still be the same,” she said, referring to how Hong Kong would become completely part of China in the next few decades.