Thousands of Hong Kong civilians held a peace rally to urge Chief Executive Carrie Lam to withdraw the proposed extradition law. However, amid rising tensions, some protestors became rioters and clashed with police inside luxury shopping mall in Sha Tin, located in the New Territories region of northern Hong Kong.
The mini battles remained consistent as umbrellas became javelins or shields for the protestors. Police defended with riot shields and batons, while sending volleys of pepper spray. Stephen Lo, the Hong Kong police commissioner, stated, “When there were people breaking the law, should the police really just allow them to do so? … The police were working very hard, but their diligence has only been greeted with accusations,” Lo added.
These demonstrations are causing a short term economic strain on Hong Kong’s economy. However, many protestors believe this is necessary to obtain the much desired autonomy. This independence may be the driving factor in Hong Kong’s prosperity, as its legal independence has attracted over 8,000 businesses last year.
As of last week, Mrs. Lam has declared the legislation as “dead” but has not been made official yet. The ambiguity of whether the bill will be passed or not provides enough reason for protestors to keep marching on.
As for now, we still can not predict what the results of these demonstrations will be. Mrs. Lam is under pressure from Beijing to assert authority over civilians. However, she must also appease the protestors before the situation goes out of hand.