Beijing won't let Hong Kong's leader, Carrie Lam, step down even if she wanted to, a senior city government official close to her said yesterday, adding that a divisive extradition law she delayed on the weekend was effectively withdrawn.
Opposition to the proposed law allowing extradition to mainland China has sparked the city's biggest and most violent street protests in decades over the past week. Beijing-backed Chief Executive Lam indefinitely delayed the legislation on Saturday.
A crowd of what organizers said there was more than two million protesters, many dressed in black, swarmed over swathes of Hong Kong island on Sunday, chanting for Lam to quit. The international finance hub was rocked Wednesday by the worst political violence since before its 1997 handover to China as tens of thousands of protesters were dispersed by baton-wielding riot police. Many placards in the crowd yesterday accused police of using excessive force. Nearly 80 people were injured in this week's unrest, including 22 police officers, with both sides showing a willingness to escalate their behavior to levels unseen before in the usually stable business hub. One man died late Saturday when he fell from a building where he had been holding an hours-long anti-extradition protest.