Thousands Rally in Hong Kong Tourist District

Conservative party leadership contender Jeremy Hunt speaks during a party leadership hustings in Belfast Northern Ireland Tuesday

Tens of thousands of protesters have marched to keep up the pressure on the Hong Kong government to withdraw a controversial extradition bill, in the latest of a series of mass rallies that have drawn millions of demonstrators over the past month. They designed leaflets in the simplified Chinese characters widely used in the mainland and shouted the objective of their march over loudspeakers in Mandarin, the official language in China rather than the Cantonese of Hong Kong.

British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Thursday that he had not backed violent protests in Hong Kong, after Chinese state media blamed "Western ideologues" for fomenting unrest in the former British colony.

This weekend's march follows weeks of demonstrations against the proposed extradition legislation.

March organizer Ventus Lau said the objective of Sunday's protest was two-fold: to reiterate the protesters' demands to the government and to give mainland visitors a firsthand look at their movement.

But many young people in one of the world's most densely populated and expensive cities are also infuriated by sky-high living costs, and a feeling that a home of one's own is just a dream.

"It is by understanding the root causes of the concerns of the demonstrators, that freedoms that they have had for their whole life could be about to be undermined by this new extradition law", he added. I am so distressed for them. "We must protect our freedom, our autonomy", said Thomas, 25, who declined to give a surname over fears of government backlash.

In a while Sunday insurrection police charged a crew of protesters with batons.

One man is accused of storming into Hong Kong's legislature building in a break-in involving hundreds of protesters who vandalised offices and the main chamber.

"I don't really understand the issue", said Miao Yiwen, 20, a university student, who arrived in Hong Kong two days ago and was reading a local newspaper on a street corner half a block from the protests.

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"The dialogue must be open to all Hong Kong citizens to participate, and allow everybody the right to speak", the union said in a statement published on Facebook.

Lam's spokeswoman said the chief executive hoped the HKUST student union would reconsider taking part in the meeting, which would be held in a "small-scale and closed-door manner" to facilitate an "in-depth and frank exchange of views". "We want to show them the true image and the message of Hong Kongers".

Chinese Internet users attempting to find information about the recent Hong Kong protests have found their queries blocked, and even songs that refer to events like Hong Kong's handover in 1997 have been removed from music streaming websites.

The crowds responded with chants of "release the people" and "black cops" - a pun on the phrase "black societies" which is used to describe triad gangs. "A refusal to engage with the public over important and pressing issues is inimical to the rule of law".

Critics have said the extradition bill could be used to send political dissidents from Hong Kong to the mainland.

Lawyers and rights groups say China's justice system is marked by torture, forced confessions and arbitrary detention, claims that Beijing denies.

March organizer Ventus Lau said the goal of Sunday's protest was twofold: to reiterate the protesters' demands to the government and to give mainland visitors a firsthand look at their movement.

Protesters march past the West Kowloon station in Hong Kong on Sunday, July 7, 2019. Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam previously said there was no timeline for discussions around the bill to resume and indicated it's unlikely to pass this year.

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