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Thursday, June 13, 2019, 22:29
Hong Kong gradually returns to normal after protest
By chinadailyasia.com & Xinhua
Thursday, June 13, 2019, 22:29 By chinadailyasia.com & Xinhua

Bricks and garbage lie strewn outside the Legislative Council in Admiralty, Hong Kong, June 13, 2019 following a mass protest a day ago. (ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG – Traffic in the heart of Hong Kong partially resumed on Thursday following a day of mass protest against the proposed extradition law amendments, although operation of the legislature and government administration remained disrupted.

A meeting of Legislative Council (LegCo) scheduled on Thursday to resume the second reading of the government proposed bill amending the special administrative region’s (SAR) extradition laws was postponed, as many of the roads in the vicinity of the LegCo and the government headquarters are still closed.

A LegCo meeting scheduled to resume the second reading of the government proposed bill amending the special administrative region’s extradition laws was postponed again Thursday 

It is the second consecutive day the LegCo postponed the full council meeting on the government proposed bill. According to a press release issued at 11:20 am by the HKSAR government, under Rules of Procedure 14(3), the LegCo president directed that Thursday’s LegCo meeting be changed to a later time to be determined by him.

The government said the LegCo would not resume the meeting on Friday, according to a press release issued at around 6 pm Thursday.

READ MORE: Lam warns public of danger of radicalism

The MTR had earlier said the Admiralty Station will temporarily remain closed following a request by police. The station was closed at 8.30 pm Wednesday and was reopened around 2.15 pm Thursday. 

The MTR Admiralty Station remains closed on June 13, 2019 following a mass protest a day before. (ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY)

Traffic flow has resumed along Westbound Harcourt Road near Admiralty. Eastbound traffic remained suspended as debris left by protesters was yet to be cleared. Also, on some routes, usual services bus remain unavailable.  

Hundreds of protesters opposing the amendments blocked access to government headquarters since Wednesday morning as well as LegCo. The rally turned violent later in the day. Tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray were used against protesters who stormed the line of police outside the building.

Protesters began to disperse after midnight. 

READ MORE: HK legal, political leaders denounce fierce clashes

The city's Commissioner of Police Stephen Lo said at a briefing Thursday afternoon that 11 people have been arrested for disorderly conduct in public place, unlawful assembly, assaulting police officers and other riot-related crimes.

The protesters caused severe traffic congestion on nearby roads, tried to storm the LegCo building, and attacked police personnel with sharpened iron poles, bricks, wooden planks and rail barriers, forcing the LegCo meeting to be postponed.

Damaged barriers and debris lie strewn outside the Legislative Council in Admiralty, Hong Kong, June 13, 2019 following a mass protest a day ago. (ROY LIU / CHINA DAILY)

"The process was premeditative and they (the rioters) particularly acted in an intimidating and inciting manner," Lo said, "Despite these, the police have adopted a restraint and tolerant attitude."

According to Lo, a total of 22 police officers have sustained injuries in the incident.

"We have strongly condemned the violent behavior of the rioters. I have appealed to the public to conduct their public meeting and public procession in a peaceful and orderly manner," Lo said.

The Hospital Authority said 81 people aged between 15 and 66 were injured due to the protest as of 5 pm Thursday. Five men and two women are still staying in hospital with stable condition. 

The city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor voiced strong condemnation of the violence Wednesday evening. She urged the people of Hong Kong to step away from violence and appealed to the public to express their opinions in a rational, peaceful and lawful way.

With inputs from Li Bingcun

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