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Central and Western District Council was forced to halt its meeting several times because of protests. Photo: RTHK

Protest hits Central and Western District Council

Central and Western District council on Thursday voted down a motion to demand the withdrawal of the extradition bill amid loud protests during a special meeting.

The motion, put forward by the Democratic Party’s Kam Nai-wai, also condemned what it called police brutality against anti-extradition protesters; and Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Police Commissioner Stephen Lo for calling the June 12 protest outside Legco ‘a riot’.

The government now says it has never given any definition to the June 12 events.

The motion also called on the government to set up an independent inquiry to look into the extradition bill saga.

At the start of the meeting, chairman Yip Wing-shing led councillors in observing one minute of silence for several young people whose suicides had been linked to the anti-extradition protests.

And, during the meeting, protesters in the public gallery – dressed in black and wearing masks – chanted anti-extradition slogans, while others were holding banners showing support for the police to “strictly enforce the law”.

Yip repeatedly told members of the public to keep quiet, and had to briefly suspend the meeting three times to restore order.

The council eventually rejected the motion by a vote of 10 to five.

Councillor Horace Cheung from the DAB told RTHK’s Violet Wong after the meeting that the police have duly carried out their duties during the protests over the past month or so.

“If the public is dissatisfied with the performance of individual police officers, certainly we have an established mechanism to handle such kind of complaints. But we do not agree that there should be such kind of general condemnation against the police force,” he said.

However, the Democratic Party’s Ted Hui said he was deeply disappointed that the motion was voted down, as he thinks the demands put forward are the mainstream opinion of the general public.

He said pro-government lawmakers should not focus solely on the violence they claim protesters used.

“They are using their air time in the council to criticise the young people – calling them rioters, condemning them of using violence, without mentioning that the bill itself is evil, that the whole government has not admitted to what it has done wrong,” said Hui.

“I don’t think this is helpful, I think this only polarises and puts the future protests to more extremes,” he said.

Last week, pro-democracy councillors also made requests to discuss the extradition bill controversy at the Yau Tsim Mong and the Kwai Tsing district councils, but were turned down by their pro-government chairmen.

Both meetings were forced to end early after they were disrupted by anti-extradition protests.

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