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Hong Kong protester falls to death while hanging banner condemning extradition bill

Hong Kong citizens marched for hours in a massive protest that drew an apology from the city's leader for her handling of legislation that has stoked fears of expanding control from Beijing in the former British colony.

Protest organisers estimated that nearly two million of the city's seven million-strong population turned out, while police said 338,000 people were counted on the designated protest route during the march's 'peak period'.

A demonstration a week earlier brought as many as one million people out to express their concern over Hong Kong's relations with mainland China, in one of the toughest tests of the territory's special status since Beijing took control in a 1997 handover.

Well after dark, crowds gathered outside the police headquarters and chief executive Carrie Lam's office.

On Saturday, Ms Lam suspended her effort to force passage of the bill, which would allow some suspects to be sent for trial in mainland China.

The move did not appease Hong Kong residents angered over the plan who see it as one of many steps chipping away at Hong Kong's freedoms and legal autonomy.

Scroll down for video. 

Protest organisers estimated that nearly two million of the city's seven million-strong population turned out, while police said 338,000 people were counted on the designated protest route during the march's 'peak period'

Protesters sit on a road outside the Legislative Council building during a rally demanding a complete withdrawal of an extradition bill in Hong Kong, China

Protesters perform during a protest against the now-suspended extradition bill on June 16, 2019 in Hong Kong, China

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam apologised to the public today with 'utmost sincerity and humility' after the second massive protest in a week over a proposed extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial 

Demonstrators also left bouquets of white flowers, written tributes and origami cranes outside a high-end Hong Kong shopping mall where a 35-year-old man plunged to his death protesting against the controversial bill

Protesters light candles in honour of a man who died after falling from a scaffolding at the Pacific Place complex while protesting, during a demonstration demanding Hong Kong's leaders to step down and withdraw the extradition bill

Protesters take part in a rally to demand a complete withdrawal of an extradition bill in Hong Kong, China

After night had fallen, dozens more flowers had appeared near where the man fell at the Pacific Place shopping centre in the Admiralty district. Above: a little boy clutches an enormous bouquet of flowers as he prepares to lay it with the hundreds which are already there

These women knelt at the scene and appeared to be in tears as they made their own tributes to the fallen protester

Protesters gather into the night against an unpopular extradition bill in Hong Kong. Protest organisers estimated that nearly two million of the city's seven million-strong population turned out, while police said 338,000 people were counted on the designated protest route during the march's 'peak period'

Critics fear the Beijing-backed law will entangle people in China's notoriously opaque and politicised courts and damage the city's reputation as a safe business hub, and so they want it scrapped entirely.  

After night had fallen in the city, it was announced that Joshua Wong, the student leader who became the face of the Hong Kong's 'Umbrella Movement' democracy protests in 2014, will be released from prison on Monday.

In a statement, Demosisto - the party he co-founded - said the activist, now 22, would be released from Lai Chi Kok Correctional Institute at 10.30am.

Protests from today and last week have also seen many thousands of those on the streets holding umbrellas.

Protesters rest outside the Legislative Council building during a rally demanding a complete withdrawal of an extradition bill in Hong Kong, China

After night had fallen in the city, it was announced that Joshua Wong (pictured in 2014), the student leader who became the face of the Hong Kong's 'Umbrella Movement' democracy protests in 2014, will be released from prison on Monday

The man who fell from the shopping centre, whose surname was given as Leung, had hung a banner off the roof of Pacific Place shopping mall, in the Admiralty district, which overlooks the site of violent clashes last week between police and demonstrators.  

A video circulating on social media shows the man falling from rooftop scaffolding as firefighters tried to grab him on Saturday evening. 

They clutch at his clothes and he slips through their hands, missing a jump raft that had been inflated on the ground below.  

Hundreds of thousands of people flooded Hong Kong in a rally against the controversial bill, which would have allowed people to be sent to mainland china for trial 

Yesterday, the chief executive of the Hong Government, Carrie Lam, suspended the bill following the protests which have wracked the region. Above: Protesters hold posters with 'Stop Killing Us' written on them earlier today

Protesters, dressed mostly in black, marched in Hong Kong today, just a day after government chief executive Carrie Lam suspended the controversial extradition bill

The show of defiance from the people of Hong Kong saw hundreds of thousands remain on the streets even as night fell

He had unfurled a banner saying: 'Entirely withdraw China extradition bill. We were not rioting. Release students and the injured'. 

Thousands of mourners, mostly young people dressed in black, joined enormous queues along busy roads to leave tributes and pay their respects, some crying and bowing as they offered sticks of incense. 

Next to a large pile of white flowers were hundreds of hand-written messages, lines of gifts laid out in offering including a bottle of single malt whiskey, and a white hard hat with the word 'hero' written across it.  

'The flowers are white for purity and so we can show our respect for the dead. When I get there, I will offer these and say a prayer for him,' said 18-year-old Travis. 

Above: Three protesters stand next to a poster demanding 'No China Extradition'. Its message was echoed by thousands of other similar placards which were seen across the city

Organisers' hopes of another mammoth turnout rally today to keep pressure on Ms Lam proved to be correct as hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets

An hour before the march was due to start subway stations were filled with dense crowds of black-clad protesters making their way to the start. Above: Protesters hold white flowers and hold posters, including one (right), mocked up in Game of Thrones style, dubbing Hong Kong's leaders as a 'Gang of Tyranny' 

Last week's violent clashes had seen police fire rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray at protesters. Above: Thousands of protesters carrying umbrellas take to a sporting area today 

'He walked a bloody road, I admire his energy, I admire his bravery,' said a man called Yung, aged 26.  

Signs reading 'Help Hong Kong. No extradition to China. RIP' have been posted at the site.

Yesterday, the chief executive of Hong Kong's government, Carrie Lam, suspended the bill in face of the protests.

Ms Lam said in a press conference that she took the decision in response to widespread public unhappiness over the measure, which would enable authorities to send some suspects to stand trial in mainland China. 

Protesters attending Sunday's rally calling for the complete withdrawal of the  divisive bill were urged to bring a flower to leave as the march passes the site of the man's death, and student groups announced plans for a candlelit vigil in the evening.

'I think it will give us more energy to come on the streets today,' said another mourner standing in long queues on the busy road, giving his name as Lau.

Critics of the proposed extradition bill fear the Beijing-backed extradition law will tangle people up in China's notoriously opaque and politicised courts and damage the city's reputation as a safe business hub. Above: Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents, mostly clad in black, jammed the city's streets and unfurled an enormous white banner

The conflict is one of the toughest tests of the territory's special status since China took control in a 1997 handover. Above: Protesters carry the banner through the streets

In amazing scenes in Hong Kong today hundreds of thousands of protesters shouted slogans as they marched through the centre of Hong Kong

'Now it's no longer as simple as someone being hurt or bleeding, it's someone who lost their life because of this resistance,' said a man who gave his name as Hubert.

'No one wanted to see this happen. I'm sure (Hong Kong chief executive) Carrie Lam didn't want to see this happen, but as Hong Kong's highest official she should not avoid people's appeals.'

As night fell the huge crowds had once more taken over multiple major thoroughfares, including outside the legislature, with the police seemingly ceding the streets to the jubilant masses. 

The proposed extradition bill - and the fear that it threatens Hong Kong's way of life, freedom of speech and rule of law - has provoked some of the worst politically-motivated violence in the city for decades, with nearly 80 protesters and police hurt and eleven people arrested.

The city has been rocked by the worst worst political violence since its 1997 handover from Britain to China and Ms Lam's concession of a suspension of the bill was rejected by protest leaders

Suspending the bill has done little to defuse simmering public anger and protest organisers have called for a city-wide strike on Monday alongside today's rally

The proposed extradition bill - and the fear that it threatens Hong Kong's way of life, freedom of speech and rule of law - has provoked some of the worst politically-motivated violence in the city for decades. Above: Umbrella-carrying protesters today

Ms Lam said in a press conference that she took the decision to suspend the bill in response to widespread public unhappiness over the measure, which would enable authorities to send some suspects to stand trial in mainland China

Many of those queuing up to pay tribute said they were going on to join the planned rally through the city to show their opposition to the bill. 

Organisers said more than one million people turned out to last week's event.

Police said the man's death incident was suicide, adding that a note was found at the scene. 

Today, hundreds of thousands of protesters, mostly clad in black, jammed the city's streets, with many of them carrying banners demanding that Ms Lam step down. 

This woman waved a Union Jack and had smaller ones sticking out of her bag as she took part in today's protests

Opposition to the bill united an unusually wide cross-section of Hong Kong, from influential legal and business bodies to religious leaders, as well as Western nations. Above: Protesters in the territory today

Protesters carry posters demanding, 'Stop Killing Us' as they bravely march through Hong Kong today 

 An hour before today's march was due to start subway stations were filled with dense crowds of black-clad protesters making their way to the start and large crowds have packed areas of the city already

 The city has been rocked by its worst political violence since its 1997 handover to China, the worst of which was last Wednesday

Critics fear the Beijing-backed law will tangle people up in China's notoriously opaque and politicised courts and damage the city's reputation as a safe business hub. Above: Protesters carry banners today demanding there is no extradition to China

Walking slowly and shouting 'withdraw' and 'resign,' the crowd filled a wide thoroughfare and side streets paralleling the waterfront of Victoria Harbor. 

Ms Lam's decision to suspend the legislation failed to mollify critics of the measure who see it as one of many steps chipping away at Hong Kong's freedoms and legal autonomy.

'Our demands are simple. Carrie Lam must leave office, the extradition law must be withdrawn and the police must apologize for using extreme violence against their own people,' bank worker John Chow said as he marched with a group of his friends. 'And we will continue.'  

The man who fell from the Pacific Place mall was hailed as a 'martyr' by fellow protesters. Above: Mourners gather to lay flowers and pay their respects near to where the man landed

He had unfurled a banner reading: 'Entirely withdraw China extradition bill. We were not rioting. Release students and the injured'. Above: Flowers pile up outside the Pacific Place Mall in the Admiralty district

Emergency workers had tried to cushion the man's fall with an inflatable but failed to catch him. Above: A woman pays her respects to the fallen man

Earlier in the day, mourners laid flowers, said prayers and left written tributes near to the shopping centre

Chinese state media has remained largely silent on the protests, with social platforms scrubbed clean of any pictures of mentions of the rally.   

Except for a short opinion piece in the Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily, Chinese state media - which has drummed up support for the bill in recent weeks - remained silent. 

The proposed law that would allow extraditions to the mainland was 'supported by mainstream public opinion in Hong Kong', the People's Daily article said.

'The general public is looking forward to blocking legal loopholes to prevent Hong Kong becoming a haven for sinners,' it added.

China's state broadcaster, CCTV, avoided the subject in its main news bulletins throughout the day. 

The unprecedented protests are continuing to see hundreds of thousands of people march through the territory today

Lam stopped short of committing to permanently scrapping the proposal yesterday and the concession was swiftly rejected by protest leaders

Protesters said that Lam's suspension meant it could be 'revived' at any time she wanted and they are instead demanding that it is entirely scrapped

Lam's initial decision to ignore the record-breaking turnout and press ahead with tabling the bill for debate in the legislature on Wednesday had triggered last week's protests. 

Opposition to the bill united an unusually wide cross-section of Hong Kong, from influential legal and business bodies to religious leaders, as well as Western nations.

An hour before today's march was due to start subway stations were filled with dense crowds of black-clad protesters making their way to the start.

Jimmy Sham, from the main protest group the Civil Human Rights Front, likened Lam's offer to listen to protester's opinions to a 'knife' that had been plunged into the city

This afternoon, protesters are set to march from a park on the main island to the city's parliament. Above: A man holds a poster demanding 'No China Extradition', while a fellow protester's poster says, 'Taiwan with Hong Kong'  

'We remain an enclave of human rights and civil liberties at the footsteps of a country whose leadership do not share our values or beliefs,' lawmaker Dennis Kwok told local broadcaster RTHK ahead of today's rally. Above: A large group of protesters hold posters calling for the extradition bill to be scrapped

Critics fear the Beijing-backed law will tangle people up in China's notoriously opaque and politicised courts and damage the city's reputation as a safe business hub.

The city was rocked by the worst political violence since its 1997 handover to China on Wednesday as tens of thousands of protesters were dispersed by riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

Lam stopped short of committing to permanently scrapping the proposal yesterday and the concession was swiftly rejected by protest leaders, who called on her to resign, permanently shelve the bill and apologise for police tactics.

The Chinese government said suspending the bill was a good decision to 'listen more widely to the views of the community and restore calm to the community as soon as possible'

Critics were angry that Lam missed repeated opportunities to apologise for what many saw as heavy-handed police tactics last week. Continued unrest has seen hundreds of thousands of protesters take to the streets again today

Critics of the Hong Kong government said police used the actions of a tiny minority of violent protesters as an excuse to unleash a sweeping crackdown on what they said were predominantly young, peaceful protesters

'The extradition bill being suspended only means it can be revived anytime Carrie Lam wants,' said activist Lee Cheuk-yan. 

Suspending the bill has done little to defuse simmering public anger and protest organisers have called for a city-wide strike Monday as well as Sunday's rally.

Jimmy Sham, from the main protest group the Civil Human Rights Front, likened Lam's offer to a 'knife' that had been plunged into the city.

Many of the protesters were seen walking slowly and shouting 'withdraw' and 'resign' as they marched through vast areas of Hong Kong. Above: Protesters hold a banner with a message which translates as, 'Say no to police gangs, protect our students'

Ms Lam's decision to suspend the legislation failed to mollify critics of the measure who see it as one of many steps chipping away at Hong Kong's freedoms and legal autonomy. Above: Protesters pack a street in Hong Kong

'Carrie Lam's speech yesterday in no way calmed down public anger,' he said.  

A huge banner hanging from the city's Lion Rock mountain on Sunday read 'Defend Hong Kong'.

'We remain an enclave of human rights and civil liberties at the footsteps of a country whose leadership do not share our values or beliefs,' lawmaker Dennis Kwok told local broadcaster RTHK ahead of Sunday's rally.

Lam had been increasingly isolated in her support for the bill, with even pro-Beijing lawmakers distancing themselves from the extradition proposals in recent days.

'Our demands are simple. Carrie Lam must leave office, the extradition law must be withdrawn and the police must apologize for using extreme violence against their own people,' bank worker John Chow said as he marched with a group of his friends. Above: A photo of a Hong Kong Street shows the scale of the protesters with thousands of people packing every inch of road

The Chinese government said suspending the bill was a good decision to 'listen more widely to the views of the community and restore calm to the community as soon as possible'. 

Critics were also angry that Lam missed repeated opportunities to apologise for what many saw as heavy-handed police tactics.

Police said they had no choice but to use force to meet violent protesters who besieged their lines outside the city's parliament on Wednesday.

But critics - including legal and rights groups - say officers used the actions of a tiny group of violent protesters as an excuse to unleash a sweeping crackdown on the predominantly young, peaceful protesters.

'The pro-democracy group will not stop at this point, they want to build on the momentum against Carrie Lam,' political analyst Willy Lam told AFP. 

The Chinese government said suspending the bill was a good decision to 'listen more widely to the views of the community and restore calm to the community as soon as possible'. Above: police block off a road as protesters pack behind their cordon

One protester carries a cardboard poster asking, 'Do you hear the people sing', while others hold one which says, 'We are with Hong Kong' and 'Not Alone' 

This woman holds a photo of what appears to show police firing projectiles at protesters. Protest leaders want those arrested for rioting last week to be released

'They will keep the heat on and ride the momentum.'

Protest leaders have called for police to drop charges against anyone arrested for rioting and other offences linked to Wednesday's clashes.

Activist Lee said opponents feared reprisals by the government and wanted assurances 'that our Hong Kong people, our protesters, are not being harassed and politically prosecuted by this government.'

Lam has argued that Hong Kong needs to reach an extradition agreement with the mainland, and says safeguards were in place to ensure dissidents or political cases would not be accepted.

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