As Hong Kong protests quiet down, what's next?
- Author: Leroy Wright Jun 20, 2019,
Jun 20, 2019, 19:24
The 62-year-old civil servant said she would not revive the legislation as long as it remained unpopular and she would not resign because she wanted "another chance".
"Unless the government was able to address concerns about the proposed laws we will not proceed with the legislative exercise again", she said.
While the extradition issue had been the spark for the mass rallies, the protest movement has since morphed into the latest expression of public rage in Hong Kong against both the city's leaders and Beijing.
So Lam persevered in her intention to push through the extradition bill despite a massive protest on June 9, and then clashes between police and demonstrators outside the legislature on Wednesday.
Joshua Wong, activist and secretary general of the pro-democracy political party Demosisto, also spoke of more protests following Lam's apology, which he called "not honest at all".
"Absolutely there are going to be more protests", Bradsher said.
Lam's speech, Tuesday, comes after Hong Kong police walked back a characterization of last week's violent protests - in which police used tear gas and rubber bullets and were recorded using heavy force against peaceful protesters - as a "riot".
FILE - In this Tuesday, June 18, 2019, file photo, posters and placards bearing photos of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and police commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung which left by protesters are placed outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong. "We all feel the same and want the same things, but we don't have to follow any one person", said one black-clad participant in his early 20s, who gave his name only as Jojo.
Lam has been under pressure after a historic protest on Sunday calling for her to step down over a bill allowing extraditions to China for the first time.
Twenty-six journalists have testified so far on alleged abuses perpetrated on media workers by police officers during the demonstrations against the extradition bill. Indeed, there is speculation that in response, the United States could review Hong Kong's special trade and economic status and potentially subject Hong Kong to USA tariffs, visa restrictions of its citizens and currency destabilization, exposing significant financial risks to one of the most important global financial hubs.
The Executive Council (ExCo) Secretariat issued a statement shortly after in support of the Chief Executive: "The ExCo non-official members will, in their best endeavours, assist the Chief Executive in the long-term interest of Hong Kong", their statement read.
Lam stopped short of meeting protesters' demands to scrap the bill, but said legislative work had been "stopped immediately" and there was no timetable for it to resume.
The announcement was met with cheers from protesters gathered outside the building where Lam was speaking. "And this goes against the agreement made during the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to mainland China".
Under Hong Kong law, rioting is considered a serious offense, punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
Others believed they needed to retreat and draw up a timetable for their demands, said Nathan Law, a leader of Demosisto, a pro-democracy group advocating self-determination for Hong Kong.
On Tuesday, the group said the city's current system lacked real teeth in holding police accountable. "I, myself, and my political team will work very hard to achieve these objectives and to meet the expectation of Hong Kong people". While she could not accept people's calls for her to resign, she also suggested that the people were wrong. It had denounced expressions of support for the Hong Kong protesters as interference in the city - and China's - internal affairs.