Amid increasing warnings from Beijing, Hong Kong democracy activists are hoping to get out a huge crowd later Sunday. This came after activists kicked off a weekend of fresh rallies on Saturday in a major test for the movement following criticism over an airport protest earlier this week.
Ten weeks of demonstrations have plunged the international finance hub into crisis, with communist-ruled mainland China taking an increasingly hard line tone, including labelling the more violent protester actions â€œterrorist-likeâ€ÂÂ.
Many protesters on Saturday chanted that they were saving their energy for Sundayâ€™s rally on the main island. Billed as a â€œrational, non-violentâ€ÂÂ protest, it is being organised by the Civil Human Rights Front, a group that eschews confrontations with police and was the driving force behind record-breaking rallies in June and July that saw hundreds of thousands of people hit the streets.
The protests were sparked by opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the mainland, but have since morphed into a wider call for democratic rights in the semi-autonomous city. Millions of people have hit the streets while clashes have broken out between police and small groups of hardcore protesters.
Battles between police firing tear gas and rubber bulletsâ€”and hardcore protesters using rocks, Molotov cocktails and slingshotsâ€”have since become routine in an international finance hub once renowned for stability.
Beyond suspending the extradition bill, Beijing and city leader Carrie Lam have shown no desire to meet key demands such as an inquiry into police violence, the complete withdrawal of the bill and an amnesty.
But protesters remain unbowed, despite the arrests of more than 700 people and 11 consecutive weekends of rallies that have won few concessions. Beijing has turned the screws on Hong Kongâ€™s businesses, pressuring them to toe the line and condemn the protesters.
Deloitte and PwC posted statements on their websites saying the ad does not represent their positions and expressing opposition to violent or illegal behaviour. In statements quoted by Chinese state news agency Xinhua, KPMG and EY also expressed opposition to violence and illegal acts.