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Hundreds converge on Hong Kong parliament in fresh anti-government demonstration
[HONG KONG] Hundreds poured into Hong Kong's main government complex early Friday to stage a demonstration over the pro-Beijing leadership's snub of demands by protesters who have rocked the city with huge rallies.
The protest comes after weeks of political unrest in which millions have marched to oppose a proposed law that would have enabled extraditions to the Chinese mainland, but the movement has transformed into a larger rebuke of Hong Kong's government.
Opposition groups had called for supporters to gather at the complex in the city's central Admiralty district after the government did not respond to their demand to completely withdraw the extradition bill and for the city's leader Carrie Lam to step down.
People starting converging at the complex around 7.00am (2300 GMT Thursday), many dressed in black -- the colour of choice at the rally on Sunday that organisers said drew millions, making it the largest in Hong Kong's history.
Protesters, who have been largely leaderless during the anti-government rallies, were asked to "hold picnics" outside the legislature. Organisers have also called for a go-slow protest on roads and public transport, and urged people to gather in other parts of the city to show their support.
Some at the government complex brought placards asking the police not to shoot at them, in a reference to sporadic violence last week between security officials and protesters.
In addition to chief executive Lam's ouster and the extradition law's withdrawal, protesters have also demanded the release of those detained during those clashes, and an investigation into allegations of police brutality.
The call for Friday's protest was made by the city's student unions, as well as informal organisers over social media and messaging apps like Telegram.
Ms Lam has so far defied calls to step down, and while she has suspended the bill indefinitely, it has failed to quell anger.
Administrative offices at the complex were closed on Friday "due to security considerations".
Opponents of the extradition bill that sparked the crisis have said they fear the proposal will ensnare the people of Hong Kong in mainland China's opaque and politicised justice system, and also give Beijing a tool to target its critics based in the semi-autonomous territory.