IMAGE: Anti-extradition bill protesters march during the anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover to China in Hong Kong. Photograph: Tyrone Siu/Reuters
Following months of protest in the city, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Wednesday will announce the formal withdrawal of an extradition bill that would have allowed extraditions of criminal suspects for further prosecution in China.
According to The New York Times, Lam is slated to meet with the members of her cabinet and pro-Beijing lawmakers as she faces pressure to withdraw the bill.
Earlier in June, Lam had suspended the bill and said that it was ‘dead’, but the protesters have long been suspicious of her government’s refusal to formally withdraw the bill and feared it could be revived later.
The decision will mean that the pro-China government is finally acceding to one of the five demands of the protesters, who took to the streets over the past 13 weeks to voice not just their opposition to the legislation, but the overall governance of the city in demonstrations that have become increasingly violent, South China Morning Post reported.
Apart from the formal withdrawal of the bill, the protesters have demanded the government to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate police conduct in tackling the protests, grant amnesty to those who have been arrested, stop characterising the protests as riots, and restart the city’s stalled political reform process.
Last week witnessed some of the fiercest standoffs between protesters and police as the police carried out mass arrests on the eve of a banned march, and demonstrators lobbed petrol bombs at police headquarters, stations and government buildings in the city.