Protests disrupt Central and Western district council meeting

Local | 18 Jul 2019 3:54 pm

The Central and Western district council voted down a motion today to demand the withdrawal of the extradition bill amid loud protests during a special meeting, RTHK reports. 
The motion by Democratic Party's Kam Nai-wai, also condemned what it calls police brutality against anti-extradition protesters; and Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Police Commissioner Stephen Lo Wai-chung for calling the June 12 protest outside Legco ‘a riot.'
The government now says it has never given any definition to the June 12 events. 
The motion also called on the government to set up an independent inquiry on the extradition bill saga. 
At the start of the meeting, chairman Yip Wing-shing led councilors to observe a minute of silence to mourn several young people whose suicides had been linked to the anti-extradition protests. 
And, during the meeting, protesters at the public gallery – dressed in black and wearing masks – chanted anti-extradition slogans, and others were holding banners that voice support for the police to “strictly enforce the law”. 
Yip repeatedly told members of the public to keep quiet, and had to briefly suspend the meeting three times to restore order. 
The council eventually rejected the motion by a vote of 10 to five. 
Councilor Horace Cheung from the DAB told RTHK’s Violet Wong after the meeting that the police have duly carried out their duties during the protests in the past months. 
“Certainly, if the public is dissatisfied with the performance of individual police officers, certainly we have [an] established mechanism to handle such kind of complaints. But we do not agree that there should be such kind of general condemnation against the police force,” he said. 
However, Democratic Party's Ted Hui said he was deeply disappointed that the motion was voted down, as he thinks the demands in the motion are mainstream opinion of the general public. 
He said pro-government lawmakers should not focus just on the alleged violence by protesters.
“They are using their air time in the council to criticize the young people – calling them rioters, condemning them of using violence, without mentioning that the bill itself is evil, that the whole government has not admitted what it has done wrong,” said Hui. 
“I don’t think this is helpful, I think this only polarize and put the future protests to more extremes,” he said. 
Last week, pro-democracy councilors also made requests to discuss the extradition bill controversy at the Yau Tsim Mong and the Kwai Tsing district councils, but were rejected by their pro-government chairmen. 
Both meetings were forced to end early after they were disrupted by anti-extradition protests.

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