Hong Kong protesters call on foreign leaders to raise crisis at G20

Demonstrators march on consulates to petition overseas governments to assist in fight against authoritarian regime

Hundreds have gathered at a rally in Hong Kong and marched to foreign consulates to lobby international governments about the citys political crisis during the G20 summit this week.

President Xi Jinping of China and the US president, Donald Trump, are expected to meet at the summit in Japan amid heightened trade tensions between the worlds two largest economies.

Many in the crowd who gathered at Chater Garden in the heart of Hong Kongs business district Central wore white T-shirts emblazoned with the message: Liberate Hong Kong!, held up placards and chanted slogans: Free Hong Kong!

Free Hong Kong from Chinas colonisation said one placard. President Trump, Please liberate Hong Kong! said another. One man held up a blackboard scrawled with the message: We are Hong Kongers who have a dream: to live in dignity and without fear. Say NO to extradition to China!

A protester speaks to the crowd before handing a petition to the EU consulate in Hong Kong. Photograph: Isaac Lawrence/AFP/Getty Images

Hong Kong has been rocked by its biggest political crisis in decades as millions have thronged to the streets to protest against a proposed law allowing for the extradition of individuals, including foreigners in Hong Kong, to mainland China to stand trial.

On Wednesday protesters marched to the US and British consulates as well as the European Unions representative office. On their arrival, protesters read out their petition letters before handing them to consulate officials.

In desperation we seek your engagement and assistance to fight back against this authoritarian regime with us, a protester read from a letter addressed to Trump.

Ventus Lau, an organiser of the march, claimed there were 1,500 participants in the police-sanctioned march. While the front of the procession reached the consulates, many more were waiting in the park to start their march.

The protesters also delivered petitions to consulates of 19 countries including Australia, Canada and Japan. Another rally is scheduled for Wednesday evening.

Many on the march said they were frustrated by the refusal of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to meet their demands.

Lam has suspended the controversial bill and apologised for the social disharmony caused after earlier mass protests, but stopped short of withdrawing it and condemning the polices use of force. Hong Kong police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse hundreds of thousands occupying the main thoroughfares outside the government headquarters on 12 June, drawing condemnation from international rights groups.

Our local government has ignored us so we have no choice but to seek help from the international community, said Lau.

He said he hoped that foreign countries could weigh in on the extradition bill controversy at G20 to help uphold the special status of Hong Kong. Under the 1992 Hong Kong Policy Act, the US allows the semi-autonomous territory to be treated as a non-sovereign entity distinct from China for trade and economic matters under US law.

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