(MENAFN - Asia Times) As many as two million Hong Kong people rallied on Sunday to oppose the controversial extradition bill amendment.
According to the organizers' estimates, a total of two million people joined the protest march on Hong Kong Island to express dissatisfaction over Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's decision to suspend – but not withdraw – the controversial bill. Protestors also called for Lam to step down.
Police estimated the crowd at only 338,000. The Civil Human Rights Front said the number of protestors from an earlier march on June 9 amounted to 1.03 million, while police pegged that crowd at 240,000 at its peak.
Some protestors brought flowers to the Pacific Place mall in Admiralty to pay tributes to a demonstrator, who died on Saturday as he fell from the top of the building after an anti-extradition protest. The mall was also a place for thousands of protestors to find safety after they were dispersed by the police with tear gas on the evening of June 12.
Some protestors bring white flowers with them. Photo: Asia Times
The march came after Lam announced the suspension of the bill on Saturday while she said she felt 'deep sorrow and regret' that the government had failed to explain the bill to the public over the past few months.
Read:Carrie Lam suspends controversial extradition bill amendment
Lam has not heard the people's views, said Jimmy Sham, convenor of the Civil Human Rights Front.
March organizers urged the government to stop arresting anti-extradition law protestors, free the protestors who have been arrested over the past week and retract the characterization of the June 12 protest as a 'riot.'
"Only when Carrie Lam apologizes, withdraws the bill and steps down will Hong Kong people end all of our protests,' Bonnie Leung of the Civil Human Rights Front told RTHK.
On Sunday evening, Lam apologized through astatementfor how her administration has handled its unpopular bid to amend Hong Kong's extradition law.
"The Chief Executive admitted that the deficiencies in the Government's work had led to substantial controversies and disputes in society, causing disappointment and grief among the people," according to the statement. "The Chief Executive apologized to the people of Hong Kong for this and pledged to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticisms and make improvements in serving the public."
Lam should step down as she lost her credibility due to her late apology, said James To Kun-sun, a Democratic Party lawmaker and deputy chairman of the Panel on Security, Legislative Council.
Lam's decision to suspend the bill actually was tantamount to withdrawal, said Ivan Choy Chi-keung, a senior lecturer, Department of Government and Public Administration at the Chinese University Hong Kong. However, Lam's apology came too late, Choy added.
The public should give Lam a chance as she has the courage to suspend the bill, said Michael Tien Puk-sun, a pro-establishment legislator.
On Sunday evening, the protest has spilled over from the planned route to multiple key streets in Admiralty, Wan Chai and Causeway Bay.
Civil Human Rights Front, the organizer of the rally, originally obtained approval from the police to march from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to the government headquarters in Admiralty.
Some unions and other groups will go ahead with labor action planned for Monday.
Read:Thousands march in Hong Kong on Sunday despite government climbdown
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