After 20 weeks of protests in Hong Kong the controversial extradition bill that started it all has been officially withdrawn from the Hong Kong Legislature.
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The Fugitive Offenders Legislation, which sparked over 4 months of protests, would have allowed suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial. That fueled anger amongst citizens who feared that Beijing’s leaders were encroaching on their freedoms.
The call for its withdrawal quickly grew into a movement with five core demands including universal suffrage and an independent investigation into police conduct.
In September, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced a full withdrawal of the bill would happen, but has repeatedly said the other demands are beyond her control.
The September announcement by Lam did not slow down those taking part in pro-democracy protests which at times have turned violent with police and black-clad protesters clashing on the streets late into the night with petrol bombs being thrown by protesters and tear-gas by police to clear the unauthorized demonstrations.
A suspect accused of murdering his girlfriend in Taiwan — whose case Lam had used as an example showing the need for an extradition bill — was released from a Hong Kong Prison Wednesday as the city and Taiwan bickered over how to handle his voluntary surrender.
Hong Kong Secretary for Security John Lee said in a statement Wednesday “The Hong Kong authorities have been all the while in making efforts to assist the Taiwanese authority in their investigation. But everything must be done in accordance with the laws of Hong Kong and under our legal framework.”
More protests in Hong Kong are planned for the coming week including a rally Thursday night which organizers say is in solidarity with those protesting in Catalonia.