Hong Kong’s identity as a city of rights and freedom is under threat – so we protest | Antony Dapiran

The proposed law has provoked a response like no other in recent years. Here’s why

In extraordinary scenes that could have been a direct replay of 2014’s Occupy Central protests, thousands of anti-government protesters surrounded the Hong Kong government offices and Legislative Council building at Admiralty today, blocking roads and forcing the government to postpone a planned meeting to debate a controversial proposed extradition law.

Again, as in 2014, today’s protesters were primarily youths, clad in black t-shirts and chanting “Cit Wui!” (“Withdraw!”). Drawing on their experience from the Umbrella Movement, protesters quickly equipped themselves with protective gear – face masks, goggles, hard-hats – in anticipation of police batons, capsicum spray, or even tear gas and rubber bullets. Police formed three-deep defensive lines equipped with riot shields, truncheons and guns. By mid-morning, protester supply stations – well-stocked with water, foodstuffs, first-aid supplies and other necessities – were already springing up.

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Hong Kong’s identity as a city of rights and freedom is under threat – so we protest | Antony Dapiran