Demonstrators who surrounded the city’s Legislative Council forced a postponement of the next reading of the bill.
Hong Kong was facing international pressure on Thursday over a divisive extradition bill that sparked violent protests, as a top legal body said police tactics to clear demonstrators may have been unlawful.
Police used rubber bullets and tear gas to break up crowds Wednesday after demonstrators – angry over legislation they say would leave people vulnerable to China’s politicised justice system – blocked roads and brought the city to a standstill.
The European Union called for the “fundamental right” of Hong Kongers to assemble and express themselves to be respected as it became the latest grouping to add its voice to a growing chorus of criticism of the bill.
The EU “shares many of the concerns raised by citizens of Hong Kong regarding the government’s proposed extradition reforms”, it said. The bloc said the proposed law had “potentially far-reaching consequences for Hong Kong and its people, for EU and foreign citizens, as well as for business confidence in Hong Kong”.
Demonstrators who surrounded the city’s Legislative Council – its government – on Wednesday forced a postponement of the next reading of the bill.
But Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam has shown no signs of backing down, and said the protests were “organised riots”.
Wednesday’s violence left 79 people hurt, with two in a serious condition, in the worst political unrest since Hong Kong was handed back to China in 1997.