Authorities in Hong Kong have been forced to shut some government offices after the city experienced the worst violence ever witnessed in decades. By early Thursday morning, crowds had dispersed around government headquarters. This is after battles between the protestors and police which had taken the most of Wednesday.The protests were brought about by the government’s plan to allow extradition to mainland China. Despite the series of widespread violence, the government has not yet backed down on their plan. However, the Hong Kong’s Legislative (LegCo) Council have already delayed the second reading of the contentious extradition bill. It is also uncertain when the reading will eventually take place.
How the Protests Begun
Initially, the second reading of the controversial extradition bill was scheduled for Wednesday (12th June 2019). With the aim of preventing lawmakers from taking part in the debate, tens of thousands of activists lined the streets surrounding government headquarters. However, the activists met police who were deployed in full riot gear. Later on, the tensions escalated as protestors tried to make their way into key government buildings.
Police officers did not take the storming lightly and responded by firing rubber bullets and teargas in order to disperse them. This continued for most part of the day before the crowd eventually dispersed during the night.
Aftermath of the Violence
Human Rights Watch groups have blamed the police for using “excessive force” when dispersing the protesters. As per reports, at least 72 people aged between 15 and 66 sustained injuries during the violence. Police officers did not also escape unharmed since about 21 of them were taken to hospital after sustaining injuries.
After the violence, police made some arrests of people who were taking part in the riots One of the arrested individuals include a Telegram group administrator who was taken in for conspiracy to commit public nuisance as per the reports received from local news stations. Ivan Ip, the administrator of the Telegram group having 30,000 members is also accused of plotting to block the LegCo building and other neighboring areas.
Things Learned About Hong Kong’s Youths after the Protests
After the protests, we have learned quite a number of things about Hong Kong’s youths. Here are some of them:
- They can Get Organized Very Quickly
The way protesters filled the roads has come as a surprise to many since something like that has never happened for nearly a decade now. The way they showed up for the protests displays how organized Hong Kong’s youths are.
- Willing to Take More Radical Measures
Hong Kong’s youths have just showcased how willing they are in taking radical measures when compared to the generation that led the Occupy protests about five years ago. The way protesters engaged riot police offers showed how confident they are.
For now, the protest seemed to have quietened down. However, they are still expected to return when the LegCo holds the second reading of the extradition bill. As for now, we will have to sit back and watch how things will unfold.