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Hong Kong protesters are back on the street after government excuses fall flat



Hundreds of most young people flooded in Harcourt Road outside the city's legislature on Friday morning when they were setting off a sit-in demanding city executive, Carrie Lam, and officially withdrawing the bill.

The occupied highway road – a major highway in the city center – before moving toward nearby Wan Chai, where protest organizers, including Joshua Wong, released during the week from prison, had urged them to surround the police headquarters.

Speaking to reporters, a political spokeswoman urged protesters to leave the area, but said a "clearance operation" was not planned.

"We respect citizens' right to express their views peacefully," she said, and adding a negotiating team would meet with protesters in an attempt to persuade them to continue.

Lam issued a rare public apology Tuesday and said she was "sincerely sorry" for the controversy surrounding the bill, which has seen several major protests, including successive march organizers said attracted more than 1
million and 2 million participants.

"I have heard you loud and clear and have reflected deeply on everything that has happened," she said. "The concerns of the last few months are caused by the shortcomings of the Hong Kong government."

  Protesters occupy a highway outside Government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 21, 2019. Servants occupy a main road outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 21, 2019.

She did not respond to demands to completely withdraw instead of pausing the bill. She also did not resign or called for a study of alleged political brutality during violent protests on June 12, other demands for protest.

Students and pro-democratic groups had given Lam until kl. Thursday to meet these demands, saying they would make further protests on Friday if she didn't. These protests began with a peaceful sitting outside the legislature and state offices closed to all outlets before protesters escalated by seizing Harcourt Road.

Police presence is considerably less Friday than last week when they used tear gas and rubber balls to clear tens of thousands of protests from Harcourt and the surrounding streets.

Several other events are scheduled on Friday, including a memorial to a protest that fell to his death from the Pacific Place Mall last week, and demonstrations by parent groups that the Hong Kong authorities brace for a summer of disruption and dissatisfaction with the wrong bill.

CNN's Jo Shelley and Caroline Kwok helped report.


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