Published:  12:54 AM, 09 June 2019

Huge Hong Kong protest expected in last push to scrap extradition bill

Huge Hong Kong protest expected in last push to scrap extradition bill Students chain up themselves as they protest to demand authorities to scrap a proposed extradition bill with China, in Hong Kong, China. -Reuters

At least half a million people in Hong Kong are expected to brave sweltering heat on Sunday to press the government to scrap a proposed extradition law that would allow suspects to be sent to China to face trial, organizers of the march said.

A committee of pro-democratic groups has raised turnout estimates and are now eyeing the biggest single-day rally since 2003, when a similar number of protesters forced the government to shelve tighter national security laws.

The march will end at the city's Legislative Council, where debates start on Wednesday into sweeping amendments to the Fugitive Offenders Ordinance. The extradition bill is due to be passed by the end of the month. After weeks of growing local and international pressure, the protest is expected to reflect the broad range of opposition to the bill, with many saying they simply cannot trust China's court system or its security apparatus.

The city's independent legal system was guaranteed under laws governing Hong Kong's return from British to Chinese rule 22 years ago, and is seen by the financial hub's business and diplomatic communities as its strong remaining asset amid encroachments from Beijing.

Concerns have spread from the city's democratic and human rights groups to secondary school students, church groups and media lobbies as well as corporate lawyers and pro-establishment business figures, some usually loathe to contradict the government.

---Reuters, Hong Kong

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