Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to announce formal withdrawal of extradition bill

This would be the first time Lam acceded to the protesters' demands.

Jason Fan| September 04, 03:11 PM

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam is set to announce the formal withdrawal of the extradition bill, some 14 weeks after it kick-started the whole protest rage, according to South China Morning Post.

The formal withdrawal of the bill would mean that Lam has finally agreed to one of protesters' five demands, after repeatedly stating that she would not back down.

Suspension of the bill was not enough

Lam had previously suspended the bill, declaring it "dead" and stressing that it would not be tabled again.

However, this was not enough for critics, as they argued that as long as the bill remained on the legislative agenda, there was a chance that it could be tabled in the near future.

Critics also saw the move to suspend the bill, rather than withdrawing it, as a prideful act, and the day after she suspended the bill, an estimated two million people took to the streets in one of the largest movements thus far.

An attempt to cool the atmosphere

The ongoing protests have become increasingly violent over time, and the 13th weekend of protests saw some of the fiercest battles between protesters and police.

More than 150 people were arrested in a mass arrest from Friday to Sunday, and observers noted that this move could further radicalise the protesters.

According to SCMP, sources say that Lam's move to formally withdraw the bill is an attempt to cool the increasingly tense atmosphere that is gripping the city.

One of five demands

The formal withdrawal of the bill is one of five demands put forth by the protesters.

The protesters have also asked for the government to set up a commission of inquiry to investigate police conduct in tackling the protests, grant amnesty to those arrested, stop labelling the protests as riots, and to restart the city's stalled political reform process.

SCMP reported that Lam is due to meet her pro-establishment allies on the afternoon of Sept. 4 at her official residence, which is also likely the venue she would make the announcement.

Top image from Stand News.