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HK chief's apology rejected, protest to continue (Lead)

Tuesday - June 18, 2019 6:40 pm , Category : WORLD
Hong Kong, June 18 (IANS) A civil rights organisation, coordinating demonstrations against a contentious extradition bill, on Tuesday rejected a public apology by Hong Kong's leader and announced that the protests would continue.
Addressing a press conference, Civil Human Rights Front Vice-Convenor Bonnie Leung said the group was disappointed with Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam's apology earlier in the day as she had ignored protesters' demands, reported Efe news.
The Front said it would not accept Lam's apology, and rued that she did not step down, withdraw the bill, or pull up the police for violent incidents during massive protests on Sunday, which the organisers said drew more than 2 million people.
Leung said the group was holding consultations with various social sectors of Hong Kong and would announce further course of action on Wednesday.
The Front also expressed its intention to denounce police officers for their actions during the instances of violence last week, and urged the families of the affected parties to collaborate with them.
Earlier on Tuesday, at a press conference Lam offered her "most sincere apology to all people of Hong Kong". "I personally have to shoulder much of the responsibility," she said.
She had already apologised in a statement on Sunday following the protests. "People have expressed in a peaceful and rational manner their concerns, their dissatisfaction and disappointment with the government, especially me. I have heard you loud and clear and have reflected deeply. This incident has led me to realise that I need to do more," said Lam.
To lift public spirit, Lam reiterated the bill had been shelved and that there was no plan to take it forward at least until next year. She said her mandate was to end in July 2020 when there would be elections and that it was highly unlikely that it would be approved before that date.
Lam called on Hong Kong citizens to give her another opportunity so that her government could rebuild trust.
Proposed in February, the bill, if passed to become a law, would allow the Chief Executive's headquarters and the Hong Kong courts to process extradition requests from jurisdictions without prior agreement -- in particular mainland China and Taiwan -- and without legislative supervision.
The bill has been met with opposition from various sectors of society on grounds that Hong Kong would lose its judicial independence and according to rights organisations, it would allow activists, non-profit workers and journalists to be tried under a Chinese judicial system.

--IANS pg/pcj