Lee Cheuk-yan pledges to continue struggleLocal | 17 Jun 2019 12:14 pm
Protesters left the streets, averting possible clashes today after haggling for hours with police by moving to areas near the government headquarters.
The demonstrators who stayed after a march that drew 2 million yesterday, demanding that Chief Executive Carrie Lam abandon a proposed extradition bill, were seen streaming today into a space outside Hong Kong’s Legislative Council after police who had cleared it reopened the area.
Their decision to move allowed police to reopen streets to traffic.
The activists have rejected an apology from Lam for her handling of the legislation.
“We are very angry that Carrie Lam has not responded to the demands of all the protesters, but now is the time to talk about strategy, and talk about strategy is to how about how to make the whole struggle into a long-term struggle and not a day struggle, so if Carrie Lam does not respond to the five demands by the protesters, people will come back and the struggle will continue,” said Lee Cheuk-yan, a former legislator and activist.
Shortly after daybreak, the police had asked for cooperation in clearing the road but said the protesters could stay on the sidewalks.
For a time, the protesters, many in masks and other gear to guard against possible use of tear gas, responded with chants, some kneeling in front of the officers.
Hundreds were lying or sitting on the roads until they agreed to move to the plaza outside the government building and a spacious nearby park.
Activists had called on Hong Kong residents to boycott classes and work, though it was unclear how many might heed that call.
Nearly 2 million turned out on yesterday, according to estimates by protest organizers. Police said 338,000 were counted on the designated protest route in the “peak period” of the march.
A week earlier as many as 1 million people demonstrated.