Thousands of civil servants gathered on Friday in the anti-government protests in Hong Kong for the first time since they gripped the semi-autonomous Chinese territory for the past few weeks.

The protesters demanded the complete withdrawal of the China extradition bill and called for an independent inquiry into the police handling of the protests, NHK world reported.

“In the past few weeks, there have been many conflicts between Hong Kong citizens and the police, and the government still refuses to reply to the public demands,” Al Jazeera quoted co-organiser of the protest, Chan as saying.

The rally came after an open letter penned anonymously and published on Facebook setting out a series of demands to the Hong Kong government by a group which said it represented civil servants.

“At present, the people of Hong Kong are already on the verge of collapse,” the group wrote in the letter, saying it was “a pity that they have seen extreme oppression.”

Last month, Thousands of pro-democracy protesters defied a police ban and began marching through Hong Kong a day after riot-police fired rubber bullets and tear gas in the latest violent confrontation to plunge the financial hub deeper into crisis.

Huge crowds gathered in the heart of the city’s commercial district after police gave permission for a static protest in a park but banned a proposed march through the city.

The demonstrations over the last seven weeks were triggered by a controversial bill which would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, but have evolved into a call for wider democratic reforms and a halt to sliding freedoms.

According to reports, multiple protests sometimes violent, continue to take place in the semi-autonomous state despite the city’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam publicly apologising for proposing the controversial legislation and announcing later that the bill has been suspended.

The extradition bill was proposed on April 3 this year.