Hongkongers urged to besiege Legco until June 20 - RTHK
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Hongkongers urged to besiege Legco until June 20

2019-06-11 HKT 18:19
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  • Hongkongers urged to besiege Legco until June 20
Pro-democracy activists have urged people to surround Legco from Wednesday and to remain there in force until lawmakers vote on extradition laws a week on Thursday.

The "final call" for action came as businesses, students, bus drivers, social workers, teachers and others all vowed protests in varying forms this week, as a last throw of the dice to try to stop the passing of new legislation that will allow extraditions to the mainland for the first time.

Some companies, including Deloitte, have told staff they can take Wednesday off, or "work from home" if they want to, while also warning employees to make sure they stay safe.

Flanked by a number of pro-democracy lawmakers, Jimmy Sham from the Civil Human Rights Front said the police had been notified about the plan for a peaceful protest outside Legco.

But already anticipating that demonstrators will gather in large numbers, officials on Tuesday shut off the demonstration zone and Civic Square, and ushered in police officers to secure the area.

Even the lawn at Tamar Park, where "one person picnics" were being planned, was cordoned off for "regular maintenance".

The Legco Secretariat said there was a high risk that protesters would storm the council building during upcoming meetings on the extradition law changes and plans were in place to restrict public access if the situation deteriorates.

On Sunday night, protesters clashed with police outside Legco, hitting officers with metal barriers and suffering pepper spray and baton blows in return.

Despite the authorities' efforts to shrink the space for protesters to gather on Wednesday, would-be protesters were defiant, with students saying they were planning to skip lectures to demonstrate in Tim Mei Avenue outside the council complex.

The police, meanwhile, said five groups had applied to hold public events near Legco and the government's headquarters, with one of them, a Christian group, having been given permission so far.

Senior superintendent Kong Wing-cheung said the force was ready to handle any situations that arise.

"We will be conducting different threat assessments and will make sure that we have sufficient manpower to police these events," Kong said.

He also said that messages have been posted online calling for violent action, including attacking police officers and snatching their guns, warning that inciting such behaviour is illegal.

On Sunday, the city witnessed a record turnout for a protest rally, with organisers saying 1.03 million people took to the streets. But the Chief Executive said the government would still go ahead with its plan to get the bill passed as quickly as possible.

Legal experts have criticised the move and on Tuesday some major religious groups also called on the government not to rush through the amendments, which would enable the government to surrender anyone to other jurisdictions with which there is no extradition treaty right now, including the mainland.

This has raised concern among political parties, rights groups, business chambers and foreign consulates that Beijing might use the legislation to extract its detractors from Hong Kong.

The government says the law changes are needed to hand over a Honkonger who is wanted in Taiwan over a murder case.