For the 13th weekend in a row, protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong last weekend, marching in the rain. Some tossed Molotov cocktails at police and faced water cannons and tear gas from law enforcement authorities. Their fight against Chinese domination has continued, surpassing most expectations, and has weathered multiple storms, including the arrest Friday of several prominent activist leaders, including Joshua Wong and Agnew Chow. On Sunday, protesters tried for a second time to shut down the busy international airport of the cosmopolitan trade hub, and on Monday, thousands of students boycotted the first day of school.
At the same time the actions were unfolding, Reutersreported that Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam had made remarks, captured on a recording, to business leaders behind closed doors expressing deep remorse for her role in the protests. Lam said, “For a chief executive to have caused this huge havoc in Hong Kong is unforgiveable. It’s just unforgiveable.” She added, “If I have a choice, the first thing [I would do] is to quit.” Lam’s introduction of an extradition treaty with China in June, that would potentially turn over dissidents to the Chinese government, had triggered the mass activism in the first place. Three months later, Hong Kong remains crippled by relentless opposition to the bill—which Lam suspended but had until recently refused to fully withdraw. In a testament to the power of the movement’s persistence, Lam finally caved in and announced she will fully withdraw the extradition bill.