Hong Kong citizens marched for hours Sunday in a massive protest that drew a late-in-the-day apology from the city's top leader for her handling of legislation that has stoked fears of expanding control from Beijing in this former British colony, the AP reports. Nearly 2 million of the city's 7 million people turned out, according to estimates by protest organizers. Police said 338,000 were counted on the designated protest route in the "peak period" of the march. A week earlier as many as 1 million people demonstrated to voice their concern over Hong Kong's relations with mainland China in one of the toughest tests of the territory's special status since Beijing took control in a 1997 handover. Well after dark, crowds gathered outside the police headquarters and Chief Executive Carrie Lam's office.
On Saturday Lam suspended her effort to force passage of the bill, which would allow some suspects to be sent for trial in mainland China. The move did not appease Hong Kong residents who see it as one of many steps chipping away at Hong Kong's freedoms and legal autonomy. In a statement issued late Sunday, Lam noted the demonstrations and said the government "understands that these views have been made out of love and care for Hong Kong," adding: "The chief executive apologizes to the people of Hong Kong for this and pledges to adopt a most sincere and humble attitude to accept criticisms and make improvements in serving the public," it said. Not enough, said pro-democracy activists, who demand that the Lam administration retire the proposed amendments and not bring them up again for passage at a later stage.
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