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Parents, friends remember Hong Kong protester 'Raincoat Man' who died fighting extradition law

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Police in Hong Kong use pepper spray and batons against anti-government protesters who had seized highways early Monday.
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HONG KONG — The parents of a Hong Kong man who plunged to his death after putting up banners against divisive extradition legislation urged young people on Thursday to stay alive to continue their struggle.

“Every brave citizen who takes to the street is doing so because they love Hong Kong deeply,” they said in a message read at a public memorial for their son, Marco Leung, who died on June 14 at age 35. “Only by protecting themselves and staying alive can young people continue to speak up bravely against social injustices.”

Young people have been at the forefront of huge rallies against the legislation, which has plunged Hong Kong into chaos amid wider fears about the erosion of civil rights in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory. Leung’s banners demanded a full withdrawal of the bill, which would have allowed suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial.

Hong Kong leader: Extradition bill ‘dead’

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam declared her effort to amend the extradition laws “dead” earlier this week but stopped short of formally withdrawing the bills. Activists have vowed to keep up the pressure until she does so. Many are also demanding her resignation.

The Chinese government’s chief representative in Hong Kong said Thursday that the central government firmly supports Lam in continuing to govern. Wang Zhimin dismissed calls to exonerate protesters who have been arrested, saying it would be “a blatant challenge to the rule of law in Hong Kong.”

“Regarding the recent series of violent incidents, all Hong Kong people, including those present, have expressed condemnation,” he said in a speech to Beijing loyalists in Hong Kong.

Beijing: Issues ominous warning after ‘atrocities’

Pro-democracy activists placed sunflowers and sang hymns at the memorial for Leung. He has been nicknamed the “Raincoat Man” for the yellow raincoat he was wearing when he died, just hours after Lam announced the indefinite suspension of the bills.

The Rev. Yuen Tin-Yau said at the memorial that Leung wasn’t a martyr but that he wanted justice. Yuen urged Hong Kong people to “be courageous and be persistent” in carrying out their peaceful struggle so that Leung didn’t die in vain. Apart from Leung, three other young people have reportedly died, including a woman who left a suicide message.

“Mr. Leung’s death brought us pain, but this is the way he has spoken out against the authorities. He has already finished what he should do. Today, Hong Kong people still need to speak up, and they need to speak up with an even louder and stronger voice,” Yuen said.

The protests against the proposed extradition legislation have given voice to fears that Hong Kong is losing the freedoms guaranteed to it when the former British colony was returned to China in 1997. Critics fear suspects would face unfair and politicized trials in mainland China, and that critics of the ruling Communist Party would be targeted.

Police fire tear gas to break siege: Protesters storm Hong Kong legislative chamber

Billy Li, a lawyer who stopped by the memorial after attending court, said he shared the frustration of the protesters.

“Even when you see the young people break into the legislative building to air their anger, to some extent I can understand their desperation. So I came here because I somehow feel the pathway of Mr. Leung. The responsibility of his death is somehow shared by every one of us, because we could not stop the bill earlier, before the death of Mr. Leung,” Li said.

On July 1, the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s handover from Britain back to China, a peaceful march drew hundreds of thousands of people but was overshadowed by an assault on the territory’s legislative building. A few hundred demonstrators ransacked the building, spray-painting slogans on the chamber walls, overturning furniture and damaging electronic voting and fire prevention systems.

Tens of thousands of people joined the most recent rally on Sunday, seeking to carry their protest message to those in the mainland where state-run media have not covered the protests widely.

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  • Protesters hold up the mobile phone lights in front of police headquarters in Hong Kong, Friday, June 21, 2019. More than 1,000 protesters blocked Hong Kong police headquarters into the evening Friday, while others took over major streets as the tumult over the city's future showed no signs of abating.1 of 22
  • Protesters set up barriers to block the police headquarters in Hong Kong, Friday, June 21, 2019. More than 1,000 protesters blocked Hong Kong police headquarters into the evening Friday, while others took over major streets as the tumult over the city's future showed no signs of abating.2 of 22
  • Protesters attend a rally outside the Wanchai Police headquarters in Hong Kong, China on June 21, 2019. Hong Kong is braced for new demonstrations as the government did not respond to a list of protester demands, such as a complete withdrawal of an extradition bill and investigation into police brutality. 3 of 22
  • Protesters move a barricade on an expressway next to the Hong Kong Police Headquarters on June 21, 2019 in Hong Kong, China. Hong Kong pro-democracy activist, Joshua Wong, said on Monday after being released from jail that Chief Executive Carrie Lam must step down as he joined protesters against the controversial extradition bill which would allow suspected criminals to be sent to the mainland and place its citizens at risk of extradition to China.4 of 22
  • Police hold up shields as protesters throw eggs at the police headquarters in Hong Kong on June 21, 2019. Thousands of protesters converged on Hong Kong's police headquarters on June 21, demanding the resignation of the city's pro-Beijing leader and the release of demonstrators arrested during the territory's worst political crisis in decades. 5 of 22
  • A protester shouts the police as protesters gather outside the Wanchai Police headquarters demanding the release of protesters arrested during clashes in Hong Kong, China on June 21, 2019. Hong Kong is braced for new demonstrations as the government did not respond to a list of protester demands, such as a complete withdrawal of an extradition bill and investigation into police brutality. 6 of 22
  • Thousands of protesters surround the police headquarter in Hong Kong on June 21, 2019. The protests continue as the demonstrators are  demanding that Chief Executive Carrie Lam step down and call for a complete withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill.7 of 22
  • A woman walks past a wall with stickers messages supporting protesters outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, Friday, June 21, 2019. A deadline imposed by activist groups for Hong Kong's government to scrap highly unpopular extradition bills and accept other demands passed Thursday without an official response.8 of 22
  • Protesters block roads during a rally against a controversial extradition law proposal outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong on June 12, 2019. Hong Kong authorities delayed the second reading of a controversial bill allowing extradition to mainland China.9 of 22
  • Pro-democracy lawmaker Roy Kwong chants slogans as protesters occupy outside Legislative Council in Hong Kong.10 of 22
  • Journalists, on the right, stand next to police officers in riot gear behind glass inside the member's entrance of the Legislative Council building after police fired tear gas during a rally against a controversial extradition law.11 of 22
  • Protesters shield themselves with umbrellas against pepper spray used by the police.12 of 22
  • Police fire tear gas during a rally against a controversial extradition law.13 of 22
  • A police officer fires tear gas during clashes with protesters.14 of 22
  • Police arrest a manduring violent clashes with protesters in Hong Kong.15 of 22
  • A protester bows to riot police after they fire tear gas towards protesters.16 of 22
  • Democrat Alvin Yeung gestures towards riot police as protesters occupy the roads near the Legislative Council and government headquarters.17 of 22
  • Protesters occupy the roads near the Legislative Council and government headquarters in Hong Kong.18 of 22
  • A policeman shouts at protesters during a rally.19 of 22
  • Police officers use a water canon on a lone protestor near the government headquarters in Hong Kong.20 of 22
  • Police officers stand surrounded by tear gas during a rally by protesters against a controversial extradition law in Hong Kong.21 of 22
  • Protesters carry an injured comrade after clashes with police.22 of 22

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  • A protester breaks a window of the Legislative Council in Hong Kong on July 1, 2019. Protesters are demanding the resignation of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam and the full withdrawal of a suspended extradition bill.1 of 20
  • Ten of thousands of protesters flood the streets as they take part in a rally.2 of 20
  • Protesters attend the annual pro-democracy march.3 of 20
  • Protesters overturn barricades as they attempt to storm into the government headquarters.4 of 20
  • Police officers with riot shields form a barricade on Lung Wo road outside the Convention and Exhibition Centre.5 of 20
  • Protesters rest on a road divide outside the Legislative Council.6 of 20
  • Protesters try to push a metal cart through a closed entrance at the government headquarters.7 of 20
  • Police standing inside the government headquarters look at protesters who tried to smash their way into the building.8 of 20
  • A police officer uses pepper spray during a clash with anti-extradition protesters.9 of 20
  • A man has his eyes rinsed after being pepper sprayed by police.10 of 20
  • Helicopters fly across Victoria Harbour carrying a Hong Kong (L) and China (R) flag during the annual flag raising ceremony to mark the 22nd anniversary of the city's handover from Britain to China on July 1, 2019.11 of 20
  • Beams of sunlight are cast on protesters as they march.12 of 20
  • Protestors hold black balloons to symbolize mourning for Hong Kong.13 of 20
  • Police detain protesters as they block roads.14 of 20
  • Protesters show a mask covered with blood.15 of 20
  • Protesters storm into the Legislative Council building to protest against the extradition bill16 of 20
  • A protester defaces the Bauhinia Flower emblem of Hong Kong with spray paint after breaking into the main chamber of the Legislative Council building.17 of 20
  • Protesters gather inside the meeting hall of the Legislative Council.18 of 20
  • Journalists film the portraits of former legislative leaders which damaged by protesters inside the Legislative Council building.19 of 20
  • Police fire tear gas at protesters near the government headquarters.20 of 20

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