Hong Kong protesters demonstrate against extradition bill

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Hundreds of thousands of people are marching in Hong Kong against a law critics fear could let China target political opponents in the territory.

The controversial extradition bill would allow suspected criminals to be sent to mainland China for trial.

The protests are thought to be the biggest since the 2014 Umbrella Movement, which saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets.

The government says the bill has built-in protections and will plug loopholes.

Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam has pushed for the amendments to be passed before July. Supporters say safeguards are in place to prevent anyone facing religious or political persecution from being extradited to mainland China.

But critics say those in the former British colony would be exposed to China’s deeply flawed justice system, and it would lead to further erosion of the city’s judicial independence.

Protesters, marching in the sweltering heat dressed in white, include a wide range of people – from businesspeople and lawyers to students, pro-democracy figures and religious groups.

More than 500,000 people joined the march, according to organisers, while police say they are still calculating the final figure. The demonstration was mainly peaceful though pepper spray was used against some protesters.

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