Hong Kong Protesters Gather Outside Police Stations After Extradition Bill Victory

Riot police protect a police station from protesters at Kowloon Bay in Hong Kong on August 24, 2019, in the latest opposition to a planned extradition law that has since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city. - Hong Kong riot police on August 24, …
LILLIAN SUWANRUMPHA/AFP/Getty Images

Protesters gathered outside Hong Kong police stations on Wednesday after Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the permanent withdrawal of the controversial extradition bill that kicked off the largest demonstrations the semi-autonomous city has ever seen.

The demonstrators seemed determined to signal their movement will not disperse now that the first of their five core demands has been met.

One of the other demands calls for an independent investigation into the excessive use of the police force against protesters. A great deal of anger has accumulated over the July 21 attack on protesters and innocent bystanders at the Yuen Long train station by thugs linked to organized crime, an attack protesters believe was ordered by the Chinese Communist government or its allies in Hong Kong and facilitated by police officers who were slow to respond.

Another incident frequently cited by critics of the Hong Kong police occurred on August 31, when officers stormed the Prince Edward train station and assaulted passengers with batons and pepper spray.

“There is no effective way to control the power of the police – they basically have unlimited power these days and there’s no check or balance. We don’t know who they are, there’s no effective complaint mechanism for whatever the police do wrong. And it’s just getting more and more serious,” a protester told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

The crowd assembled outside Mong Kok police station on Wednesday had police brutality on their minds:

Supporters honked their horns as they drove past the confrontation brewing at the police station and filled message boards with the new rallying cry of the protest movement: “Five Key Demands, Not One Less.”

Protest supporters have also grown fond of quoting a Ukrainian Euromaidan protester featured in the documentary film Winter on Fire, who said: “Our friends that we have lost would never forgive us if we accepted those terms from the government.”

The Mong Kok police station was the scene of a tense confrontation on Monday night in which protesters threw eggs and shined laser beams on the police. As they did on Monday night, police raised the “orange flag” on Tuesday, a sign informing demonstrators they risk provoking a physical response if they continue their activities.

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