Opponents of Hong Kong's extradition bill organising a mass rally on Sunday have urged residents to continue opposing it, insisting that nothing short of scrapping the controversial legislation will be acceptable.
The Civil Human Rights Front, which organised last weekend's march that drew hundreds of thousands, and pan-democratic lawmakers on Friday made it clear that just delaying the bill would not be enough.
Earlier in the day, several advisers in Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor's de facto cabinet - including convenor Bernard Chan, Dr Lam Ching-choi and Fanny Law Fan Chiu-fun - called for more time to discuss the bill, following violent clashes between police and young protesters on Wednesday.
The stand-offs left more than 80 people injured as officers fired tear gas, rubber bullets and beanbag rounds to disperse the crowd.
"I understand these rumours and reports might give people the impression the government is having second thoughts, but we will not believe it until Lam announces it herself," Civic Party leader Alvin Yeung Ngok-kiu said.
He emphasised Hongkongers would only accept Lam scrapping the bill which, if passed, would allow the transfer of fugitives to jurisdictions which the city lacks a treaty with, including mainland China. Critics feared it would expose people to unfair trials in the mainland's judicial system.
"Postponing the legislation will not solve the problem," Yeung said.
People Power lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen also called on Hongkongers to stay vigilant and not be fooled by Exco members' tricks, which aimed to mollify public ahead of the march.
"These petty actions will not dampen our determination to march on Sunday," he said.
Apart from calls to scrap the bill, the march - the second on consecutive Sundays - would also centre on how police handled Wednesday's clashes, with accusations that excessive force had been used.
The front, which claimed more than a million people attended last week, said a lower turnout would not matter as numbers was not their main concern.
"The figure itself is not that important as the voice of people is already very clear," said Bonnie Leung Wing-man, vice-convenor of the front.
The Confederation of Trade Unions on Friday appealed to both employers and employees to join a general strike next Monday to protest against the bill.
Carol Ng Man-yee, who heads the confederation, urged employers to let staff take time off to join the a rally and it was time for adults to support the young, who had been on the front line of protests.
A Hong Kong Monetary Authority source said it would allow staff to work in three remote offices - including in Wan Chai and Kwai Chung - on Monday.
A spokesman refused to go into details but said the HKMA had contingency plans in place to ensure continued operation of essential functions during unplanned scenarios.
HSBC also said it would allow employees to work from home if they face travel disruption.
Additional reporting by Alvin Lum
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