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Thousands Protest In Hong Kong Against Proposed Extradition Laws To China

The proposed extradition laws would make it possible for people in Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China to face the justice system there.

On Sunday, tens of thousands of protesters marched to protest the proposed changes, with Hong Kong police estimating that 22,800 people took part in the protest at its peak.

Thousands of demonstrators took to Hong Kong's main streets to demand authorities scrap a proposed extradition bill with China. Source: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Since it's return to China in 1997, Hong Kong has maintained a separate legal system from mainland China.

Under the "one country, two systems" policy agreed by China and the UK, Hong Kong is supposed to continue for 50 years from 1997 with its own legal processes, which are very different to those in mainland China. Opponents of the proposal fear further erosion of rights and legal protections in the free-wheeling financial hub.

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Protester Roland Lo said the new laws were a "completely unacceptable" violation of that system.

Amanda Wong said she felt she had to take to the streets, despite the fact she did not know whether it would make any difference.

Sunday's march started a little earlier than expected, at 3.40pm local time, as crowds built up at the starting point in the busy Causeway Bay shopping district.

Thousands of demonstrators march during a protest to demand authorities scrap a proposed extradition bill. Source: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

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Hours later, the march continued with people packing all westbound lanes of Hennessy Road, one of Hong Kong island's main arteries.

Many of the demonstrators carried yellow umbrellas, recalling Hong Kong's last massive protest movement, "Occupy Central", in 2014 which paralysed parts of Hong Kong for eleven weeks.

Demonstrators hold yellow umbrellas, the symbol of the Occupy Central movement. Source: REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

And just last week, organisers of the "Occupy Central" movement were sentenced to up to 16 months in prison, which attracted attention to the Hong Kong government's latest approach to public protest.

Feature Image: Reuters