Thousands of protesters surrounded and defaced Beijing’s representative office in Hong Kong following a peaceful march on July 21, the first direct challenge to the Chinese regime in months-long protests against a controversial extradition bill.
Late in the evening, as protesters began to leave the building premises, police arrived to clear them away. A standoff ensued, whereby police fired tear gas and rubber bullets. By half past midnight, protesters had mostly left.
Protesters had earlier swarmed the streets of Hong Kong’s main island on Sunday afternoon to call for the complete withdrawal of the extradition bill and an independent inquiry into police use of force in recent demonstrations.
March organizer Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) said that over 430,000 joined Sunday’s march, while police estimated a crowd of 138,000 at its peak. CHRF has organized several previous rallies attended by millions.
The since-suspended bill, which proposed that people could be extradited to mainland China for trial, has drawn widespread opposition.
Many Hong Kong residents view it is the latest step in a relentless march toward mainland Chinese control.