Protesters began arriving outside the Legislative Council buildings on Tuesday night, where they were greeted by a heavy police presence and bag searches. By Wednesday morning, tens of thousands of mainly young people had arrived in the area, blocking streets and bringing central Hong Kong to a standstill.
Up to 5,000 police in riot gear have been deployed to guard the building. On Wednesday morning, police fired a water canon on a protester and used pepper spray on others. Protesters were seen wearing helmets, goggles and heavy-duty workman’s gloves, and pulling bricks from the sidewalks.
Hundreds of businesses, parents and teachers called for a boycott of works and school on Wednesday to show their opposition to the bill.
‘Hong Kong people are furious’
On Monday, she said safeguards had been added to the bill to protect human rights and had received no instruction from Beijing to push it forward. Hong Kong’s lawmakers had planned to dedicate 66 hours across five days to debating the bill.
“Hong Kong people are furious,” senior Democratic Party lawmaker James To said Tuesday. “Our chief executive just ignored the people’s voice, despite the peaceful rally of a million Hong Kong people.”
Sunny Chan, an 18-year-old protestor on the streets Wednesday, said she was “angry” that the government failed to pay attention to Sunday’s protests. “We choose to come out today and stand in the front and protest and try to protect my freedom,” she said.
Protestor Marco Leung, 23, said there would be no difference between Hong Kong and China if the law was passed. “We are not China,” Leung said. “Police should protect the citizens, not the government.”
CNN’s Ben Westcott and James Griffiths contributed to this report from Hong Kong.