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Protests in Hong Kong: Demonstrators block counsel from extradition debate



The head of the Hong Kong Legislative Council postponed the debate on a bill that would allow extradition to China after tens of thousands of residents surrounded the council complex in a challenging protest against the disputed legislation.

"The Chairman of the Legislative Council has ordered the Council meeting on 12 June to begin today at 11 am, to be amended at a later stage to be determined by him," the Council's statement said . "Members will be notified of the time of the meeting later."

Regina Ip, a Beijing deputy and former cabinet minister, and her team failed to enter the council building because protesters blocked surrounding roads, Emma Li spokeswoman for the New People's Party of Ip said.

Police said some protesters dug bricks near the legislative complex. "Police warn the demonstrators not to throw bricks because it can cause serious injuries to other people, even death, and it is strictly illegal," it says in a tweet.

Tens of thousands of young protesters demonstrating on a multi-level road outside the Legislative Council burst into Chit Whites! The phrase means "Withdraw it!" In the Cantonese, Chinese dialect spoken in Hong Kong. To download the extradition account.

As crowds of protesters swelled, the police tried to repel them with water cannons and pepper spray. Some in the crowd unfolded umbrellas for convenience. Others caught traffic signs and threw them to the ground with a crash.

The debate on the bill was scheduled for 11:00, but it was delayed. Local media reported that the delay was a result of legislators' inability to enter the building as a result of the protests.

Later the government said all entrances to the headquarters were closed as a result of the road blocks and told employees no longer in the buildings to stay away.

Some protesters in the crowd said in interviews that they have little hope of forcing the government to abandon the extradition bill. But others, like Grace Tsang, were more optimistic. Zhang, 25, said she had come hoping to attract international attention to the bill and said she hoped the global condemnation would force the government to abandon the submission of the bill for second reading in local law.

Hong Kong is a civilized city, but they do not listen to the citizens, "Ms. Tsang, who wore sunglasses and a surgical mask for spray protection, told authorities. "It's pretty funny."

"We need all people in the world to support us, because sometimes we are quite hopeless," she added.

Police in the city said some protesters surround the police and private cars in a tunnel and "threatening the lives of those who were surrounded." "We call for those around the vehicles to leave as soon as possible, otherwise we will use the appropriate force."

Many of the protesters began gathering on Tuesday night and stayed overnight.

Small businesses in Hong Kong closed their stores as a sign of solidarity with protesters. The hotel chain offers rooms where protesters can bathe and rest free. In some other companies, managers allow employees to leave work to join the demonstrations, and union leaders have told members to find creative ways to participate without calling for a strike involving drivers in a bus company who have committed themselves to under the speed limit.

But Hong Kong's strongest voices, those of the major international banks that have long made the city a global financial center, remain largely silent on the question of extradition.

"The extradition bill is troublesome because businesses are beginning to question whether there is now a blurred line between politics and business in a city that is perceived as a commercial capital that puts business first," says Tara Joseph. President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

While the international business community was worried mainly because of the doors of the board, more than a thousand small local firms in Hong Kong closed their doors on Wednesday.

At Instagram, hundreds of cafes, restaurants and other businesses post photos with a "# 612strike" hash. An online floral company, called Imfloraholic, writes: "Hong Kong is sick, take a break for a rest day!" ] "The strike is the only action we can take against the law of the unlawful extradition law," said Yankee Lam, owner of a shop in the Kowloon area. "Although our power is small, like Hong Kong, it is striking what we can do, and we must express our concern and show our concern for our home."

The bill will allow Hong Kong to hold and transfer wanted people to countries and territories with no formal extradition agreements, including Taiwan and the mainland of China.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carri Lam said the new law is urgently needed to prosecute a Hong Kong man wanted in Taiwan for murdering his girlfriend. But the authorities in Taiwan, a self-governed island claimed by Beijing, say they would not agree to the extradition agreement because they would treat Taiwan as part of China.

Critics say the law will allow everyone in the city to be assembled and judged in China, where judges should follow the Communist Party's orders. They fear that the new law will not only target criminals but also political activists.

The extradition plan covers 37 crimes. This excludes the political, but critics fear the legislation will essentially legalize the kidnappings to the continent that have occurred in Hong Kong in recent years. Authorities of mainland China are generally not allowed to operate in the semi-autonomous territory

Mike Ives, Tiffany May, Catherine Li and Daniel Viktor have contributed to the report.
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