Tens of thousands call for city's leader to step down

Banks re-open as HK returns to normalcy

Banks re-open as HK returns to normalcy

A week earlier as many as 1 million people demonstrated to voice their concern over Hong Kong's relations with mainland China in one of the toughest tests of the territory's special status since Beijing took control in a 1997 handover.

Protesters also are unhappy with the way police handled that situation, with officers using tear gas, rubber bullets and other forceful measures when demonstrators broke through barricades outside the city government's headquarters. "Carrie Lam is just a figurehead".

Hong Kong diaspora and critics of the bill overseas also held protests, including in Melbourne on Sunday.

On Saturday, Lam suspended her effort to force passage of the bill, which would allow some suspects to be sent for trial in mainland China.

Critics have said the legislation would expose people in Hong Kong to China's deeply flawed justice system and lead to further erosion of the city's judicial independence.

"Carrie Lam refused to apologize yesterday".

"And we will continue", he said. "She has to quit".

Hong Kong officials, including Ms Lam, say the bill is necessary to protect the city against criminals.

The Civil Human Rights Front, organizers of Sunday's march in Hong Kong, now claims that "close to 2 million" protestors showed up.

"We encourage all the public to carry on the campaign", said Bonnie Leung, a leader of the pro-democracy group Civil Human Rights Front.

"Call it the Carrie trade".

China's Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily, said in a commentary Sunday that central authorities expressed "firm support" for Lam.

"China just wants to turn Hong Kong into another Chinese city", said Alex To, 54, who runs a small business.

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The turmoil comes at a hard time for Beijing, which is grappling with an escalating USA trade war, a faltering economy and tensions in the South China Sea. "I think there will still be many people coming out tomorrow", a student leader told me.

Activists on Sunday pasted hundreds of fliers and notes to a wall near the protest site, with some reading, "Stop shooting innocent people", and "Use your brain, violence is insane".

In another indication of a possible shift of mood in the Chinese capital, a leader of the pro-democracy "Occupy" demonstrations that galvanised Hong Kong in 2014 appeared set to be released from jail.

At the start of the march, protesters paused for a minute's silence to remember an activist who died from a fall Saturday near the site of the recent demonstrations.

Hong Kong has been governed under a "one country, two systems" formula since its return to Beijing, allowing freedoms not enjoyed on mainland China but not a fully democratic vote.

Many accuse Beijing of extensive meddling, including obstruction of democratic reforms, interference with elections and of being behind the disappearance of five Hong Kong-based booksellers, starting in 2015, who specialised in works critical of Chinese leaders.

Lam was clear that she would not scrap the extradition bill completely, and holds that it is necessarily to uphold worldwide obligations, CBS News reported. "If she refuses to scrap this controversial bill altogether, it would mean we wouldn't retreat. She stays on, we stay on", said pro-democracy lawmaker Claudia Mo.

The protesters are demanding that Lam scrap the proposal for good and that she step down.

"We can not accept her apology, it doesn't remove all our threats", said social worker Brian Chau, who was among several hundred protesters who stayed overnight in the Admiralty district around the government headquarters and legislature.

"I feel deep sorrow and regret that the deficiencies in our work and various other factors have stirred up substantial controversies and disputes in society following the relatively calm periods of the past two years", she said.

Further down the parade route, mourners lined up to pay their respects at a makeshift memorial for a man who fell to his death Saturday after hanging a protest banner that read in part, "Make Love, No Shoot" and "No Extradition to China".

"We're watching the people of Hong Kong speak about the things they value, and we'll see what Lam's decision is in the coming days and weeks", Pompeo said.

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