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Powerful Photos from the Historic Hong Kong Protests

As many as two million people have rallied against a contentious extradition bill that would allow China to extradite people from Hong Kong to the mainland.

by Gavin Butler
17 June 2019, 7:03am

All images via Reuters

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Hong Kong to demand the resignation of embattled leader Carrie Lam. The mass protests come in response to a contentious extradition bill, put forward by Lam’s government, which would allow China to extradite people from Hong Kong to the mainland. For many, that bill symbolises a growing fear that Hong Kong, long-viewed as a separate entity from mainland China, is losing its autonomy under Beijing’s encroaching authoritarianism.

The latest turnout comes despite Lam's announcement on Saturday, June 15, that she would indefinitely suspend—although not withdraw—the extradition bill in the hope of restoring peace and calm to the region. Lam also apologised for her handling of the bill, and promised to “accept criticism with the most sincere and humble attitude”, according to a statement from her office.

This did little to placate the dissident hordes, however, who marched through central Hong Kong demanding a full retraction of the law, as well as Lam’s resignation from office. Protesters have further expressed their anger at the violent way in which police handled demonstrations in recent days, and are demanding an apology on that front.

Organisers are claiming that almost two million people turned out on Sunday to participate in the protests. While that estimate has not been independently verified, if confirmed it would make this the largest demonstration in Hong Kong's history.

Check out some of the most compelling photos from the protest below:

Protesters flood the streets of Hong Kong demanding that the region's leaders step down.
Protesters flood the streets of Hong Kong demanding that the region's leaders step down.
A protester reacts after he tried to offer a white flower to police officers.
A protester reacts after he tried to offer a white flower to police officers. White flowers are being used to to pay tribute to a man who died during the protests on June 15.
Protesters hold placards as they demand Hong Kong's leaders to step down and withdraw the extradition bill.
Protesters hold placards as they demand Hong Kong's leaders step down and withdraw the extradition bill.
A protester wearing a helmet and mask sits in front of the Legislative Council building during demonstrations.
A protester wearing a helmet and mask sits in front of the Legislative Council building during demonstrations.
Protesters hold placards denouncing police's violent treatment of them in recent days.
Protesters have denounced police's violent treatment of them in recent days.
A protester, who camped out overnight, sleeps along a road near the Legislative Council building, amidst demonstrations against the extradition bill.
A protester, who camped out overnight, sleeps along a road near the Legislative Council building amidst demonstrations against the extradition bill.
Swarms of dissidents take to the streets of Hong Kong in protest against the government.
Swarms of dissidents take to the streets of Hong Kong in protest against the government.