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Protesters flood streets in Hong Kong despite controversial bill's suspension

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Protesters attend a demonstration demanding Hong Kong's leaders to step down
Protesters attend a demonstration demanding Hong Kong's leaders to step down -
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REUTERS/Jorge Silva
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Protesters formed a sea of black on Hong Kong's streets as people demonstrated to demand chief executive Carrie Lam resign over her handling of a legislative proposal that would have allowed case-by-case extraditions to mainland China.

Lam suspended the bill on Saturday and issued a rare apology for stirring up "substantial controversies and dispute in society".

Protesters showed up anyway to vent their frustration and anger at the chief executive.

Critics of the bill and human rights organisations had said it would put human rights activists, journalists and lawyers who do work related to mainland China at risk.

Human rights groups have said that China's justice system, under the control of the Communist party, has a record of arbitrary detention, torture and violations of fair trial rights.

An estimated 1 million people protested last Sunday against the changes to the extradition law and street demonstrations during the week turned violent as police fired rubber bullets and tear gas on protesters.

As protesters called for Lam to step down on Sunday, some held signs that read "Do not shoot, we are HongKonger" calling out police for the violent protests earlier in the week that injured more than 70 people.

They also called for Lam to completely withdraw the bill instead of delaying it.

REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Some protesters said that they showed up again because of Wednesday's violence and because the government did not respond to the march last week.

The proposed bill to amend the law was prompted to simplify extradition of a suspect after a Hong Kong citizen was murdered in Taiwan, but Taiwan authorities have strongly opposed the bill.

Lam apologised to the public and admitted that the "explanation and communication work has not been sufficient or effective".

She said she was saddened that some were injured during protests and wanted to restore calm in society.

"I feel deep sorrow and regret that the deficiencies in our work and various other factors have stirred up substantial controversies and dispute in society following the relatively calm periods of the past two years, disappointing many people," she said.