March 18, 2019
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Hong Kong activists detained for protesting extradition law changes

Hong Kong, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- Several pro-democracy activists were arrested on Friday in Hong Kong for participating in a protest calling for the annulment of an amendment to the law on extradition.

Nine members of the group Demosisto, including its president Ivan Lam, were arrested at the headquarters of the government after taking part in the protest.

The proposed legal amendment would allow the extradition of fugitives to jurisdictions with which the former British colony does not have a formal transfer agreement, including mainland China, Taiwan and Macao.

The demonstrators were calling for the government to lay down a separate agreement with Taiwan and exclude mainland China from the proposed extradition mechanism.

At around 11.30 am local time, five women entered the eastern wing of the government offices shouting slogans for the amendment to be annulled and expressing their opposition to what they called "legal abduction".

A short while later, police detained those five people along with Demosisto leader Ivan Lam and another three activists who had been unable to enter the headquarters.

The government of Hong Kong strongly condemned Demosisto's action, accusing the group of blocking the lobby of the government headquarters despite requests and warnings from security personnel.

"The Government respects the rights of the public to express their views, but the effective, secure and smooth operation of the CGO (Central Government Offices) should be safeguarded at the same time", a Hong Kong government spokesperson said. "As the headquarters of the Government and working place of government officials, the CGO has never been part of the area designated for public meetings or processions".

Hong Kong has signed mutual extradition agreements with 20 countries, including the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, as well as the Philippines and Singapore.

Every fresh agreement negotiated between Hong Kong and a different country must be approved by the city's lawmakers.

Demosisto is an organization that was founded in April 2016 ro push for greater democratic freedom and self determination in the Special Administrative Region, which is a former British colony.

Its two young founders, Nathan Law and Joshua Wong, led mass protests in 2014 that were known as the Umbrella Revolution, and have spent short stints in jail for their roles in the movement.

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