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  © AFP/ Jiji
Hong Kong protests

In pictures: 6 months of Hong Kong protests

How frustration, distrust and anger toward city government and Beijing flared up

YUKI KOHARA, Nikkei Asian Review photo editor, and KATSUHIKO HARA, Nikkei Asian Review politics & economy news editor | Hong Kong, Macao

HONG KONG/TOKYO -- It was Sunday, June 9, when more than a million people in Hong Kong marched through downtown to say "no" to a controversial extradition bill which would have enabled the authorities to extradite alleged criminals to mainland China, Taiwan and elsewhere.

The Hong Kong government moved to further accelerate a legislative vote on the bill after the march, causing more protests and rallies to take place. While the bill was shelved and eventually withdrawn, protests continued, with some turning violent, as the demonstrators' agenda broadened to include demands for police and government accountability. 

Police responses to the rowdy protests included tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannon and even live ammunition while protesters fought back with bricks and Molotov cocktails. 

Here are watershed moments from the past six months of protests in Hong Kong.

It begins

  © Reuters

Demonstrators fill the streets on June 9 to protest against a proposed bill to allow the extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China.

People's voice

(Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

Protesters attend a demonstration demanding Hong Kong's leaders to step down and withdraw the extradition bill on June 16.

(Photo by Kosaku Mimura)

An estimated 2 million people marched on June 16 to protest against the extradition bill.

At LegCo's door

  © Reuters

Protesters attack the Legislative Council building on the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China on July 1.

  © Kyodo

Protesters spray paint over Hong Kong's coats of arms and walls inside the Legislative Council chamber on July 1.

Air traffic controlled

  © Reuters

Anti-government protesters behind a barricade made of trolleys at Hong Kong International Airport on Aug. 13. Many flights were canceled due to the disruption.

Tear gas in the air

  © Reuters

Police fire tear gas at protesters during clashes in Sham Shui Po on Aug. 14.

PLA at the border

  © Reuters

Soldiers from the People's Liberation Army in formation on the grounds of the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center, across the border from Hong Kong, on Aug. 15. The exercise was seen as an attempt by the Chinese government to intimidate protesters. The PLA were in Hong Kong's streets in November, cleaning up debris.

Hands across Hong Kong

  © Reuters

Protesters form a human chain during a rally to call for political reform at the Avenue of Stars on Aug. 23. Police projectiles have blinded and caused eye injuries to protesters and journalists, leading some demonstrators to cover an eye in solidarity. 


  © Reuters

Pro-democracy activists Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow arrive at court on Aug. 30 after being arrested on suspicion of organizing illegal protests.

The bill withdrawn

  © Reuters

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam at a news conference on Sept. 5, a day after the government announced it would withdraw the extradition bill. The bill was formally pulled from the legislative agenda in October. 

Pro-Beijing supporters also rise

Pro-Beijing supporters wave Chinese national flags at the Peak in Hong Kong on Sept. 29. Hundreds of people sang the Chinese national anthem and waved red flags ahead of the country's National Day.

A pro-Beijing supporter waves the Chinese national flag at the Peak on Sept. 29.

Masks and umbrellas

  © Reuters

Protesters shield themselves with umbrellas after tear gas was fired during a demonstration on Sept. 15.

City on fire

  © Reuters

A protester throws a Molotov cocktail during a demonstration near the Legislative Council building on Sept. 29. 

In custody

  © Reuters

Anti-government protesters are detained during a demonstration in Admiralty district on Sept. 29. Over the course of the protests, police have arrested thousands of people. Some claim that they were beaten by police. 

The first death

Protesters light candles and lay flowers at the site where student Chow Tsz-lok fell during a protest on Nov. 8. Chow, a 22-year-old Hong Kong university student who was believed to have fallen from a parking garage after police fired tear gas, was the first person to die of injuries amid clashes during the five months of unrest, fueling more outrage against the authorities.

Viral shooting

(Cupid Producer/ Kyodo)

A still image from a social media video shows a police officer on Nov. 11 in Sai Wan Ho aiming his gun at a protester moments before firing.

Battle on campus

Protesters walk past brick barricades near Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Nov. 14. Residents endured several days of traffic snarls and mass transit disruptions as protesters blocked some main roads and rail lines while police skirmished with students at major universities. 

Protesters use an improvised slingshot during a confrontation with police at Hong Kong Polytechnic University on Nov. 17.

Polytechnic University on Nov. 17, when police classified the protest as a riot and surrounded the campus without letting anyone in or out. 

Historic vote

  © Reuters

Voters line up Nov. 24 outside a polling station during District Council elections. The record turnout for choosing neighborhood representatives was seen as a barometer of public support for the pro-democracy protests.

The winners

Supporters of pro-democracy candidate Angus Wong celebrate after his election win on Nov. 25. 

Anger grows

(Photo by Rie Ishii)

A student walks over posters of Chinese President Xi Jinping on Nov. 27 in Hong Kong.

Thank you, Mr. Trump

  © Reuters

A protester wears a mask depicting President Donald Trump during a "March of Gratitude to the U.S." near the U.S. Consulate General on Dec. 1. Marchers were celebrating Trump's signing of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. Beijing vowed to take retaliatory measures after the bill was signed.


A pro-democracy supporter waves a flag during a rally by the advertising industry in Hong Kong on Dec. 2. 

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