Hundreds of thousands of people — perhaps even more than 1 million — took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday to protest a government bill that would open the door to criminal extradition to mainland China.
According to organisers, a total of 1.03 million people took part in the protests; if accurate, that would mean roughly one-seventh of the total population of the autonomous city-state took to the streets. A police spokesperson told Reuters that 240,000 were present at the “peak.”
Organisers said the turnout was the largest since the successful protest against a 2003 plan to amend national security law, which 500,000 people attended.
The crowd of protesters was diverse, and reflected the varied interests aligned against the extradition bill; it reportedly included teachers, businesspeople, drivers, students, and even young children.
“This law is dangerous, and not just for activists,” protester Lee Kin-long told the New York Times. “We are not activists. Even as regular citizens, we can’t stand to see China eroding our freedom.”
Martin Lee, an activist who helped create Hong Kong’s Democratic Party, told the Wall Street Journal, “This is the last fight for Hong Kong. The proposal is the most dangerous threat to our freedoms and way of life since the handover.”