Hong Kong government has decided to suspend the controversial China extradition bill as it provoked unprecedented clashes between police and protesters.
Hong Kong was facing growing international pressure over a controversial plan to allow extraditions to mainland China.
The city’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam faced mounting calls to abandon the legislation, including from her own political allies and advisers.
The international finance hub was rocked by the worst political violence.
As criticism mounted, signs emerged of a growing discomfort among party leaders in Beijing.
According to the local media in Hong Kong, Lam’s administration was planning to announce some sort of climbdown as it tried to find its way out of the political crisis.
Lam, who is appointed by a committee stacked with Beijing loyalists, had earlier refused to abandon the bill despite months of criticism from business and legal bodies.
Opposition to the extradition bill has united an unusually wide cross-section of Hong Kong.
Thousands of protesters paralysed central Hong Kong by blocking major roads in a defiant show of strength against government plans to allow extraditions to China in early this month.
Many opponents are fearful that the law would entangle people in the mainland’s opaque courts, leaving them vulnerable to a justice system seen as acting at the behest of the Chinese Communist Party.
Y Chan, a 50-year-old mother of two, said she was outraged watching the scenes unfold.
She said “My kids were out there also that day. And although I want them to be safe, want them to be at home, but this is their home. They are defending it.”
The government had argued the proposed extradition bill would “plug the loopholes” so that the city would not be a safe haven for criminals, following a murder case in Taiwan.
Tensions boiled over as 22 police and 60 protesters were injured in the protests.