Thousands of protesters, many of whom arrived the night before, are blocking the streets leading to the Hong Kong’s Legislative Council building this morning, where controversial legislation that would pave the way for extradition to mainland China is to have its second reading.
An overwhelmingly young group, many clad in black and wearing goggles or face masks in anticipation of pepper spray, have removed barricades and physically blocked off Lung Wo Road.
BREAKING: Protesters outside #HongKong's Legislative Council building remove barriers and block the street ahead of today's reading of a controversial extradition deal with mainland China. Updates to follow. #NoExtraditionBill #NoExtraditionToChina pic.twitter.com/nm3bh7fPSR
— Coconuts (@coconuts) June 12, 2019
Road occupation at Lung Wo Rd https://t.co/vgycHRrpbB
— Hong Kong Hermit (@HongKongHermit) June 11, 2019
Police, many in riot gear, tried to keep the crowds moving as protesters called for those watching from overpasses to “come down!” and join the protest.
These overhead shots offer an idea of the scope of the protest action so far.
Legco under siege already at 8am — the view from our office pic.twitter.com/vGtf82Wy3s
— Daniel Hicks (@dpahicks1) June 12, 2019
Meanwhile, there were multiple reports last night of police aggressively demanding ID around the MTR in the city’s Admiralty area and generally discouraging attempts to get to the area around LegCo ahead of this morning’s protests. That included journalists with press badges.
Our colleague was searched even with press ID on. How does it make him a reasonable suspect qualified for a search? Please explain @hkpoliceforce Officer 1343 warned in a raised voice: "Do not think you have any privilege just because you're a journo". Is that necessary? pic.twitter.com/rDkRnaz1tR
— Chris Lau (@hkchrislau) June 11, 2019
This morning’s protest follows calls for a citywide strike by pro-democracy lawmakers that came in the wake of a Sunday march that was Hong Kong’s largest since the 1997 handover. Organizers estimated that one million people took to the streets to protest the proposed legislation.
A day later, HK Chief Executive Carrie Lam gave a press conference in which she indicated that the massive turnout, which shut down large swathes of the city, would have no effect whatsoever on the legislation’s forward momentum.
A deadline of Thursday, June 20, for a final vote on the legislation was announced yesterday.
We’ll be updating the protest situation throughout the day.