Protesters take part in a march in Hong Kong on Sunday.
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of one of Hong Kong's main tourism districts on Sunday to explain to mainland Chinese visitors their opposition to an extradition bill that has plunged the city into political turmoil.
Protests against the now-suspended bill have drawn millions of people onto the streets of the former British colony in recent weeks in what has become the greatest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he took power in 2012.
"It is hoped that Hong Kong people can spread how Hong Kong people can march peacefully and bring the protest information back to the mainland to mainland visitors.
The bill, which would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial in courts controlled by the Communist Party, has triggered outrage across broad sections of Hong Kong amid concerns it threatens the much-cherished rule of law that underpins the city's international financial status.
Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula that allows freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, including the right to protest and an independent judiciary.
Demonstrators besieged and ransacked the legislative building in the heart of the city on Monday before they were driven back by police firing tear gas.
Lau Wing-hong, one of the protest organisers, said the rally would be peaceful and would finish after demonstrators arrived at their destination near the train station. There were no plans to enter the station, he said.
"It is hoped that Hong Kong people can spread how Hong Kong people can march peacefully and bring the protest information back to the mainland to mainland visitors," Lau told Reuters.
The protests have received little coverage in mainland China, where censors have blocked most news of the largest demonstrations since the bloody suppression of pro-democracy protests centred on Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Protesters marched through Tsim Sha Tsui, a popular shopping destination dotted with luxury shops, on Sunday to try to take their message directly to mainland Chinese tourists for the first time.
The short march was slated to finish at the city's high-speed rail station that connects Hong Kong to the mainland, a potentially sensitive spot after part of the facility came under Chinese jurisdiction in September in another move that raised concerns about Hong Kong's promised autonomy.
Sheung Shui boasts dozens of pharmacies and cosmetic stores that are hugely popular with mainland merchants who snap up goods in Hong Kong — where there is no sales tax — and resell them across the border.
Saturday's rally was a moment for the establishment to muster their own supporters. Hong Kong's police are in the midst of a major reputational crisis.
Riot police surrounded Hong Kong’s parliament on Monday after authorities said they would go ahead with a proposed extradition law, which would allow suspects to be sent to mainland China,
Authorities said 11 people had been arrested on Saturday on various charges including assault, possession of offensive weapons and unlawful assembly in the northern district of Yuen Long, close to the border with China.
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The plan, which will enable citywide testing for the first time, is likely to be implemented in two weeks at the earliest, Chief Executive Lam said.
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