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Massive protests erupt in Hong Kong ahead of extradition bill vote

Hong Kong protestors
A mass protest in Hong Kong against the government's controversial extradition law Sunday. Photo: Lampson Yip - Clicks Images/Getty Images

Riot police surrounded Hong Kong’s parliament Monday after some overnight clashes with officers following mass protests, as authorities vowed to press ahead with legislation that would allow the extradition of individuals facing charges to mainland China, Reuters reports.

Details: Hundreds of thousands of people protested throughout Sunday in response to the pending legislation that's due to go before the full legislature on Wednesday, per AP. Riot police clashed with hundreds of demonstrators after a march ended at government headquarters, according to AP and Reuters. The standoff ended in the early hours.

Why it matters: Hong Kong currently limits extraditions to mainland China due to concerns about the country's record on human rights. Some in Hong Kong are fearful the law could be used as a political ploy to arrest and try political activists who oppose the Chinese government.

  • When the territory passed from British to Chinese rule in 1997, Hong Kong was guaranteed independent control of its legal and political infrastructures for at least 50 years. The bill, which was crafted by Hong Kong legislators, would thin that autonomy.
  • Sunday's protests are reportedly even larger than the pro-democracy marches in 2003, according to AP journalists who covered both events.

Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam is backing the measure despite the large-scale pushback. She said at a news conference filmed by Bloomberg the legislation wouldn't erode the special freedoms the territory enjoys. "The bill wasn't initiated by Beijing," she said, adding it was proposed out of "conscience" and "commitment to Hong Kong".

In photos

A protester is seen sitting next to bus stand put on the road as barricades in Hong Kong, China.
The aftermath of the protest in Hong Kong. Photo: Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Protesters clash with the police at Legislative Council in Hong Kong after a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal in Hong Kong on early June 10, 2019.
Protesters clash with police at Hong Kong's Legislative Council. Photo: Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images
Riot police shout at protesters during clashes after a rally in Hong Kong.
Riot police shout at protesters during clashes after the mass rally. Photo: Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters block the protest area of Legislative Council with barricades.
Protesters at Legislative Council barricades. Photo: Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images
Protesters attend a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal in Hong Kong on June 9, 2019.
Protesters attend a rally in Hong Kong. Photo: Dale De La Rey/AFP/Getty Images
: Protesters clash with police after a rally against the extradition law proposal at the Central Government Complex on June 10, 2019 in Hong Kong.
Protesters clash with police after a rally. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
A protester is detained during a clash after a rally against the extradition law proposal at the Central Government Complex on June 10, 2019.
A protester is detained after a rally at the Central Government Complex. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
Protesters march on a street during a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal
Protesters march against the controversial extradition law proposal. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
Protesters hold placards and shout slogans during a rally
Protesters hold placards and shout slogans during a rally. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
Protesters hold placards and shout slogans during a rally
Protestors hold "No extradition" signs. Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images
Hong kong protestors
Photo: Ivan Shum - Clicks Images/Getty Images