Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced in the evening (local time) on Wednesday, September 4, the withdrawal of the controversial extradition bill, which had sparked mass protests throughout Hong Kong since early June. Related gatherings remain scheduled throughout the island in the coming hours and days.
It remains unclear if the announcement will quell the protest movement, as protesters' demands for greater democratic rules have expanded over the last weeks; movement leaders previously announced demonstrations would continue until all their demands are met. On Saturday, September 7, a protest action aimed at disrupting operations at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) is planned to start at 13:00, while on Sunday, September 8, protesters have planned to gather at Edinburgh Place at 14:00 and march towards the US Consulate General.
A heightened security presence is likely to remain throughout Hong Kong until the situation fully stabilizes. Severe transportation and business disruptions are expected throughout Hong Kong during any protests.
Protests and mass demonstrations of up to 2 million people have been held in Hong Kong since June 9, in opposition to a controversial bill that would allow authorities in Hong Kong to extradite fugitives wanted in mainland China and other territories. Opponents claim the law would erode freedoms and be used to silence dissent and criticism. Protesters demands later morphed into a wider pro-democracy movement, calling for government reforms and police accountability over violence.
Demonstrations have spread from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon and the New Territories in recent weeks and have also become increasingly violent. On July 21, a group of pro-government men armed with bars and sticks attacked protesters and commuters in Yuen Long, leaving 45 people injured. Activists have also accused the police of using unnecessary force in their attempts to disperse protesters.
Individuals in Hong Kong are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests and demonstrations, prepare for associated disruptions to transportation and business, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
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