Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the street in Hong Kong on Sunday against a law critics fear could let Beijing target political opponents in the territory.
The controversial extradition bill would allow suspected criminals to be sent to mainland China for trial.
Organisers say there were one million people, which would make it the biggest march in more than 16 years. Police say there were 240,000 at its peak.
After it ended, clashes erupted between hundreds of demonstrators and police.
Protesters, some wearing surgical masks, tried to break into the Legislative Council complex, throwing crowd control barriers around, and police in riot gear used batons and pepper spray.
Some of the protesters and policemen were later seen with faces covered in blood.
If the organisers’ estimate is confirmed as correct, it would be the largest demonstration in Hong Kong since 2003 when half a million people took to the street in July.
Hong Kong has seen more protests, as well as unrest, in recent years, as Beijing has been tightening is grip over the special administrative region.
Let’s take a look at other major ones that happened in recent years since 2003.
2016 Mong Kok riot
Unrest occurred in Mong Kok, one of Hong Kong’s busiest commercial centres, from the night of 8 February 2016 until the following morning.
The incident escalated from the government’s crackdown on unlicensed street hawkers during the Chinese New Year holidays. Eventual violent clashes broke out between police and protesters, resulting in injuries on both sides.
The Hong Kong government has classified the violent incident as a riot, while some media outlets and social media platforms have opted for calling the event “Fishball Revolution”, in reference to fishballs, a popular Hong Kong street food.
Between the end of the protests and 10 February, 54 men and 9 women have been arrested for suspected involvement in the unrest. By 23 February, a total number of 74 people had been arrested in connection to the clashes, of which more than 40 were charged with rioting.
2014 Umbrella Movement, or “Occupy Movement”.
A series of sit-in street protests, often called the Umbrella Revolution and sometimes used interchangeably with Umbrella Movement, or Occupy Movement, occurred in Hong Kong from 26 September to 15 December 2014
Its name arose from the use of umbrellas as a tool for passive resistance to the Hong Kong Police’s use of pepper spray to disperse the crowd during the 79-day occupation of the city demanding more transparent elections, which was sparked by the decision of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, China’s parliament, of 31 August, 2014 that prescribed a selective pre-screening of candidates for the 2017 election of Hong Kong’s chief executive.
2010 Marches for Universal Suffrage
New Year Protest
Thousands of Hong Kong residents appealed to Beijing on New Year’s Day to allow full democracy to be introduced soon in the city, as opposition lawmakers pressed forward with a mass resignation plan later the month.
Organizers said more than 30,000 protesters turned out for the New Year’s day march. Police put the number at around 9,000.
May 2 Protest
More than 3,000 people marched from Victoria Park to the Central Government Offices to demand full democracy in Hong Kong on May 2.
July 1 Protest
The July 1 march in 2010 was the first public march for democracy in Hong Kong after the unprecedented acceptance by Beijing of a limited democratic reform proposal by the Democratic Party under a document titled the ‘Consultation Document on the Methods for Selecting the Chief Executive and for Forming the LegCo in 2012‘.
While this was seen by a step forward for Hong Kong, many were disappointed in the pan-democracy camp for going back on their word to settle for something less than pure universal suffrage.
As a result, approximately 52,000 people took part in the protest. An anniversary parade was organized by opposition pro-government groups, attended by 2,000 people.
December 2005 protest in Hong Kong
On December 4, 2005, tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong protested for democracy and called on the Government to allow universal and equal suffrage. The protesters demanded the right to directly elect the Chief Executive and all the seats of the Legislative Council. They also urged the government to abolish the appointed seats of the district councils, in response to the limitations of the government’s reform proposal.
There were several estimates of the crowd turnout ranging from 63,000 to over 250,000.
Hong Kong July 1 march, 2003
The Hong Kong 1 July protests is an annual protest rally originally held by the Civil Human Rights Front from the day of handover in 1997 on the HKSAR establishment day. However, it was not until 2003 that the march drew large public attention by opposing the legislation of Basic Law Article 23.
The 2003 protest, with 500,000 marchers, was the largest protest seen in Hong Kong since the 1997 handover.