Activists had been jailed, while others faced prosecution over the 2014 demonstrations, which shut down parts of the city for several months. Pro-democracy lawmakers had been kicked out of office on a range of grounds, and numbers at events in their support or calling for political reform were dwindling. Polls found that confidence in the city’s future was at a 16-year low. Then came the extradition bill. According to organizers, more than a million people took to the streets Sunday to protest a new law which could allow Hong Kongers to be extradited to China on a range of offenses.
Critics say the move would make anyone in Hong Kong vulnerable to being grabbed by the Chinese authorities for political reasons or inadvertent business offenses and undermine the city’s semi-autonomous legal system. Lawyers, business people, middle-class, middle-aged first-time protesters were all on the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday. Their presence showed that while the fight to extend Hong Kong’s freedoms may have fizzled, the willingness to battle to protect existing rights is as strong as ever.