Thousands of Hongkongers queue to leave flowers for fallen protester (PHOTOS)

 

Bouquets of white flowers, written tributes and origami cranes piled up Sunday outside Hong Kong’s Pacific Place shopping mall, where a young man plunged to his death protesting against a controversial extradition bill.

READ MORE: Anti-extradition protester falls to his death outside Hong Kong’s Pacific Place

The man had hung a banner off the roof of the mall, which overlooks the site of violent clashes this week between police and demonstrators angry at a proposed law that would allow people to be sent to mainland China.

A video circulating on social media shows the man falling from rooftop scaffolding as firefighters tried to grab him on Saturday evening.

Members of a vast crowd of protesters marching against a controversial extradition bill leave flowers for a fellow protester who fell to his death on June 15. Photo by Vicky Wong/Coconuts Hong Kong
Members of a vast crowd of protesters marching against a controversial extradition bill leave flowers for a fellow protester who fell to his death on June 15. Photo by Vicky Wong/Coconuts Hong Kong

They clutch at his clothes and he slips through their hands, missing a jump raft that had been inflated on the ground below.

He had unfurled a banner saying: “Entirely withdraw China extradition bill. We were not rioting. Release students and the injured.”

Thousands of mourners, mostly young people dressed in black, joined enormous queues along busy roads to leave tributes and pay their respects, some crying and bowing as they offered sticks of incense.

Next to a large pile of white flowers were hundreds of hand-written messages, lines of gifts laid out in offering including a bottle of single malt whiskey, and a white hard hat with the word “hero” written across it.

“The flowers are white for purity and so we can show our respect for the dead. When I get there, I will offer these and say a prayer for him,” said 18-year-old Travis.

“He walked a bloody road, I admire his energy, I admire his bravery,” said a man called Yung, aged 26.

Anti-extradition protesters leave flowers at a memorial outside Hong Kong's Pacific Place mall, where a protester fell to his death on Saturday, June 15. Photo by Vicky Wong / Coconuts Hong Kong
Anti-extradition protesters leave flowers at a memorial outside Hong Kong’s Pacific Place mall, where a protester fell to his death on Saturday, June 15. Photo by Vicky Wong/Coconuts Hong Kong

Signs reading “Help Hong Kong. No extradition to China. RIP” have been posted at the site.

Protesters attending Sunday’s rally against the divisive bill were urged to bring a flower to leave as the march passes the site, and student groups announced plans for a candlelit vigil in the evening.

“I think it will give us more energy to come on the streets today,” said another mourner standing in long queues on the busy road, giving his name as Lau.

“Now it’s no longer as simple as someone being hurt or bleeding, it’s someone who lost their life because of this resistance,” said a man who gave his name as Hubert.

“No one wanted to see this happen. I’m sure (Hong Kong chief executive) Carrie Lam didn’t want to see this happen, but as Hong Kong’s highest official she should not avoid people’s appeals.”

A sign reading 'XXXX' can be seen among the flowers left to honor an anti-extradition protester who fell to his death near Hong Kong's Pacific Place mall on Saturday, June 15. Photo by Vicky Wong / Coconuts Hong Kong
A sign reading “oppose sending to China” can be seen among the flowers left to honor an anti-extradition protester who fell to his death near Hong Kong’s Pacific Place mall on Saturday, June 15. Photo by Vicky Wong/Coconuts Hong Kong

The proposed extradition bill — and the fear that it threatens Hong Kong’s way of life, freedom of speech and rule of law — has provoked some of the worst politically-motivated violence in the city for decades, with nearly 80 protesters and police hurt and eleven people arrested.

Anti-extradition protesters pay prayerful respects to a man who fell to his death on Saturday, June 15, while protesting the controversial legislation. Photo by Vicky Wong / Coconuts Hong Kong
Anti-extradition protesters pay prayerful respects to a man who fell to his death on Saturday, June 15, while protesting the controversial legislation. Photo by Vicky Wong/Coconuts Hong Kong

Many of those queuing up to pay tribute said they were going on to join the planned rally through the city to show their opposition to the bill. Organizers said more than one million people turned out to last week’s event.

Police said the dead man, surnamed Leung, was 35 years old.

They said they are treating the incident as suicide, adding that a note was found at the scene.


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