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Hong Kong leader shelves loathed extradition law

Wednesday September 4 2019

Carrie Lam

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam reacts during a press conference in Hong Kong on August 5, 2019. PHOTO | ANTHONY WALLACE | AFP 

SARAH NANJALA
By SARAH NANJALA
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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has announced that the government will withdraw the extradition bill that has resulted to three months of street protests.

In a video statement from her office on Wednesday, Ms Lam announced that the government would formally withdraw the bill to fully allay public concerns. "After more than two months of social unrest it is obvious to many that discontentment extends far beyond the bill. It covers political, economic and social issues," she said.

The highly opposed proposal was introduced in April and sought to allow criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China. This was followed by the three months of protests that saw a standstill of major operations in the Chinese Administrative region, affecting functions such as transport in international airports.

More than 1,000 people have been arrested and several others injured during the standoff between protesters and the government. For much of the three months, Ms Lam held a defiant pose indicating that she was either unwilling or unable to make any concessions.

However, despite suspending the bill in June following protests by more than one million people, daily demonstrations still continued in increasing magnitude with protestors demanding that the bill be fully withdrawn.

A full withdrawal was among the five key demands of protestors, who also demanded for democratic rights including being able to directly elect their leaders. Protesters saw that the extradition bill was another erosion of the liberties Hong Kong enjoys as compared with their counterparts in mainland China.

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Additional reporting by AFP