Local police wearing anti-riot gear on Wednesday used a range of weapons, including rubber bullets, tear gas, pepper spray, and batons, on protesters who intensified demonstrations against a controversial extradition bill which would allow criminal suspects in the city to be sent to mainland China for trial.
Swathes of protesters blocked roads leading to the Hong Kong's Legislative Council building, resulting in the rescheduling of a council meeting that was to be held today.
He claimed that the protesters attacked police lines with sharpened iron rods and bricks, leading to several officers sustaining injuries.
Major protests against the bill have rocked the region since Sunday. Several offices shut early on Wednesday to aid their workers in attending the agitations.
All demonstrators have demanded that the bill be shelved as concerns regarding the dissolution of rights, amongst other fears, have risen.
"This is a very important piece of legislation that will help to uphold justice and also ensure that Hong Kong will fulfil her international obligations in terms of cross-boundary and transnational crimes," Lam had previously said. Amidst the chaos, the Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu extended his support to the anti-extradition bill protesters, letting them known that they're "not alone."
"I stand shoulder to shoulder with the hundreds of thousands in #HongKong fighting the extradition bill & for rule of law. Please know you are not alone. #Taiwan is with you! The will of the people will prevail! JW," he tweeted.
Calls for Lam's resignation have been rampant throughout the protests against the document which was proposed on April 3.
Many observers have likened the latest demonstrations to the 2014 mass democracy protests, which have come to be known as the 'Umbrella Movement'. Several protesters can be seen holding umbrellas, much like the 2014 protests when the agitators used them as a tool to protect themselves from tear gas and pepper spray deployed by the police.
Critics believe that the bill will leave anyone on Hong Kong soil vulnerable to being grabbed by the Chinese authorities for political reasons or inadvertent business offences, according to Al Jazeera.
They further reasoned that the newly framed extradition plan would dissolve the rights and legal protections, which were guaranteed under the city's handover from British colonial rule to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.
The vast majority of the protesters is made up of young people of high school or university age. Multiple pro-independence groups, including localist political party Youngspiration, are amongst those protesting today. The party, along with Hong Kong Indigenous, started the protests on Tuesday night.
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