Siege mentality strikes Legco

Top News | Phoenix Un 12 Jun 2019

Protesters will besiege the Legislative Council today and keep up the intense pressure until lawmakers vote on the controversial extradition laws next Thursday with Hong Kong facing strikes, class boycotts, shop closures and other forms of resistance against the "evil" bill.

A planned overnight camp-out at Legco last night was washed away by a heavy downpour. But when the rain eased at 9pm, over 1,000 people began assembling at Tamar Park near the chamber building at Admiralty.

Another 200 also started gathering outside Admiralty MTR Station from 9.30pm.

Earlier in the evening, riot police with shields and helmets were stationed at the Admiraltystation, stopping pedestrians, making body-searches and ordering people to leave.

Sunday's massive protest, with crowds estimated at a stunning 1.03 million, failed to persuade Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor to make any concessions. She also refused to postpone the resumption today of the second reading of the bill.

Leaders of the Civil Human Rights Front, including convener Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit and vice convener Figo Chan Ho-wun, met the media yesterday along with pan-democrat legislators.

They planned to surround the Legco building and remain outside at least until next Thursday, when the bill could have its third reading vote.

Sham slammed Lam for ignoring the opinion of 1.03 million citizens. "Somebody asked me if it's still useful to protest, but I must say that if the bill passes, Hong Kong will become useless," he said. "I believe the 1.03 million people will come out again. Hong Kong will never walk alone."

He said encircling Legco would start at 10am today - one hour before the Legco meeting starts. He said it would not for him to decide when to end the action. "It's up to you , Carrie Lam, to decide when the protest will end, as we will end it as soon as you withdraw the bill."

He also called for a general strike by workers, businessmen and students starting from Monday, saying that such a general strike would be too soon for today and it would require more time for preparation.

Claudia Mo Man-ching, convener of the Democracy Camp Meetings, said she hoped there would be enough people to surround Legco building, saying: "If Carrie Lam doesn't scrap the bill, we will stay on, and Hongkongers will fight on."

Mo also said they were calling for "encircling" not "besieging" the Legco, adding: "I hope the crowd won't rush onto the roads."

A Mr Wong, in his 70s, said he wanted to stay at Tamar Park overnight, but he decided to leave after discussing it with his friends.

"But I will return in the early morning and stay outside the Legco. This is for justice and freedom."

After the online calls to surround the building, the Legco protest zone and Civic Square were closed. More than 100 police were deployed outside Legco, either at their posts or on patrol.

More 1,000 shops, restaurants and companies have threatened to go on strike today. At least 500 workers from social welfare organizations and religious groups will also strike, which will affect non-emergency services at non-governmental organizations.

The workers come from 52 groups, including two major social workers' unions.

Labour Party lawmaker Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung said they did not want to call a strike of the social welfare sector as it might adversely affect the well-being of elderly, disabled, young children, families in need. "However, we are forced by Carrie Lam's government to come here," he said.

Strike action has snowballed, with aviation staff and the Confederation of Trade Unions calling on members to join in. More than 4,000 employees from four local airlines co-signed an online petition urging their unions to launch a strike.

On Facebook, the Confederation of Trade Unions also invited people to "stop working in your own way" and attend its rally outside Legco at 10am.

About 20 people from the movie, arts and literature sectors plan to go on hunger strike starting today until the government retracts the bill. And Christian groups have organized a 72-hour "praying marathon" starting Monday.

Meanwhile, New World First Bus Company Staff Union and Staff Rights Association of Kowloon Motor Bus called on their members to remain at their posts today so protesters can get to Legco.

There are also events calling on citizens to "show off their cars" by driving at the slowest legal speed on Hong Kong Island from 5am to midnight and block the main transport routes including Tsing Ma Bridge and Lung Cheung Road. The latter aims to paralyze traffic and stop the Legco meeting.

All "Big Four" accounting firms will allow employees working on the island to work from home or other offices to ensure their personal safety.

HSBC, Standard Chartered and Hang Seng Bank will allow flexible working arrangements.

More reports:

Legco to fast track fugitive bill debate

Pens down as 72 schools threaten class boycott

Don't radicalize the young: Lam

Torture fear halts NZ extradition to China

Churches ask to heed peace call

Editorial:

March changing Taiwan election dynamic

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