Hundreds of thousands of people went to Hong Kong on Sunday in a final attempt to block a proposed extradition law that would allow suspects to be sent to China for a trial.
Police chiefs asked for public restraint, the government-funded RTHK reported, mobilizing more than 2,000 officers for a march that organizers expect to attract more than 500,000 people.
That would make it the biggest rally, because a similar number had ended in 2003 to challenge the government's plans for stricter national security laws, which were later suspended.
Hundreds of thousands of people went to Hong Kong on Sunday in a final attempt to block a proposed extradition law that could send suspects to China for a lawsuit
Police chiefs evoked public restraint when they mobilized more than 2,000 officers for a march that organizers expect to attract more than 500,000 people
The protest is expected to challenge a 2003 demonstration, which was against tightening national security legislation, as the largest ever seen in Hong Kong
Early indications suggested that the crowd could reach several hundred thousand, with underground stations stuck with people trying to participate in the rally, which starts at 3 p.m. local time in Victoria Park.
Protesters who arrived early sang & # 39; no extradition from China, no evil law & quot; while others shouted that Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam would resign.
A demonstrator presented a sign for & # 39; Carry off Carrie & # 39 ;.
Lam has modified the proposals, but refused to withdraw the bill and said it is vital to have a long-standing & # 39; loop in the law & # 39; to close.
Among the crowd were young families pushing baby & # 39; s in prams, and elderly people who defied a heat of 32 degrees Celsius.
Protesters who arrived early sang & # 39; no extradition from China, no evil law & quot; while others shouted that Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam would resign
Many of the demonstrators wore yellow umbrellas, symbolizing the 2014 protests against Chinese electoral system reforms in Hong Kong.
Endless thousands of people can be seen among the skyscrapers of Hong Kong during the march of Sunday
The opposition to the bill has united a wide range of the community, from mostly pro-establishment of business people and lawyers to students, pro-democratic figures and religious groups.
& # 39; I come here to fight & # 39 ;, said a wheelchair-bound, 78-year-old man, Lama, who was one of the first to arrive in Victoria Park.
& # 39; It can be useless no matter how many people are here. "We don't have enough power to resist, because the Hong Kong government is supported by the mainland," said Lai, who suffers from Parkinson's disease.
The protesters will slowly make their way through the busy shopping streets and residential areas of Causeway Bay and Wanchai to Hong Kong's parliament, where the debates will begin Wednesday with changes to the government's regulation on fugitive offenders.
The changes will simplify case-by-case arrangements to allow for the extradition of wanted suspects to countries, including mainland China, Macau and Taiwan, other than 20 that Hong Kong already has extradition treaties with
Opponents of the plan say they deeply question the honesty and transparency of the Chinese justice system and are concerned about security forces charging charges
The changes will simplify case-by-case arrangements to allow extradition of wanted suspects to countries, including mainland China, Macau and Taiwan, beyond the 20 with which Hong Kong already has extradition treaties.
But it is the prospect of renditions to mainland China that have alarmed many in Hong Kong. The former British colony was returned to Chinese domination in 1997 amid guarantees of autonomy and freedoms, including a separate legal system.
& # 39; It is a proposal, or a series of proposals, that strike a terrible blow … against the rule of law, against the stability and security of Hong Kong, against Hong Kong's position as a major international trade center, & # 39 ; the last British governor of the territory, Chris Patten, said on Thursday.
Whether it is business, political or social and religious groups, opponents of the plan say they deeply question the honesty and transparency of the Chinese legal system and are concerned about security forces charging charges.
Foreign governments have also expressed concern and warn of the impact on Hong Kong's reputation as an international financial center
Police and security officers shave Protestants during the protest. There are an estimated 2000 police officers and women on march
Foreign governments have also expressed concern, warning of the impact on Hong Kong's reputation as an international financial center, and noting that foreigners sought in China are at risk of being caught in Hong Kong.
The concerns were highlighted on Saturday with the news that a high-level local judge had been reprimanded by the chief judge after his signature appeared on a public petition against the law.
Reuters reported earlier that several prominent Hong Kong judges were concerned about the changes, noting that there was a lack of confidence in mainland justice and that extradition hearings were limited.
Human rights groups have repeatedly expressed concerns about the use of torture, arbitrary detentions, forced confessions, and problems accessing lawyers.
Hong Kong officials have repeatedly defended the plans, even when they raised the threshold of extradition crimes to crimes with sanctions of seven years or more.
They say the laws offer adequate safeguards, including the protection of independent local judges who will hear things before the Hong Kong chief executive approves.
No one will be extradited if confronted with political or religious persecution or torture, or with the death penalty.
& # 39; We continue to listen to a broad cross-section of opinions and opinions and remain open to suggestions on ways to improve the new regime & # 39 ;, a government official said on Sunday.
. [TagsToTranslate] Dailymail