Hong Kong Protesters Reject Leader's Apology, Call For Independent Probe

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Hong Kong Protesters Reject Leader's Apology, Call For Independent Probe

Speaking Tuesday, two days after protest organizers estimated 2 million people took to the streets to demand the bill be fully withdrawn and that she step down, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she wanted to offer the city her "most honest apology".

She said that people have called on the Lam government to drop the amendments to the Hong Kong extradition ordinance, not to press charges against protesters, to withdraw her description of protests as riots, to investigate use of excessive force by Hong Kong police and that Lam herself steps down.

THE PROTESTERS: The various pro-democracy groups that helped drive and organize the protests are pushing for Lam's resignation and the permanent scrapping of what they call the "evil" extradition bill.

Those tactics helped draw almost 2 million people, young and old, into a march on Sunday, according to organizers' estimates.

"I personally have to shoulder much of the responsibility".

She then opened up the conference to questions.

They anxious they would lose their seats in the coming election as they had noticed some of their supporters, especially those previously who had a neutral stance, were angered over the government's handling of the amendment and the excessive police force used during last Wednesday's clashes.

They also want a promise that demonstrators will not to criminally charged and to refrain from designating the clashes as "riots", which has legal significance.

"Oh, we definitely want her (Carrie Lam) to step down, because I think the Hong Kong people are not trusting her anymore".

In the face of public pressure, Lam agreed to suspend the bill on Saturday.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has insisted on forcing passage of the unpopular extradition bill - and she is now the main target of the demonstrations.

But her change of wording cut no ice with protesters listening to a live feed of her speech.

"Carrie Lam is continuing to lie", said Jimmy Sham, with the Civil Human Rights Front, Reuters reported.

"This is why [Hong Kong] protesters are fighting against the extradition bill, because China kidnapped Lam illegally".

There are also concerns that Taiwanese crime suspects traveling to or transiting through Hong Kong could be sent to China if the bill is passed. Still, China - her most important backer - said on Monday it continues to "firmly support" Lam and her government.

"I am still committed, passionate and I will work even harder".

"The concerns over the last few months have been caused by the deficiencies of the (Hong Kong) government". She is not capable of leading Hong Kong.

But many residents fear that they are being slowly eroded by what they feel is Beijing's tightening grip on the semi-autonomous city.

Authorities will likely adopt the same tactic used following the pro-democracy Umbrella Movement that shook the city in 2014 by arresting protest leaders, analysts said.

This shift in mentality is probably why the extradition bill protests have managed to attract such huge crowds of people, despite not having key figures organizing and mobilizing them, he added.

Activist Wong, 22, has now joined protesters outside the Legislative Council, the city's legislature.

Asked by CBS News during her news conference whether her decision not to retract the bill might deepen distrust in her among Hong Kong residents, Lam said she would "not proceed again with this legislative exercise if these fears and anxieties can not be adequately addressed".

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