A collective by the name of Hong Kong Mothers called for a protest to be held at 7pm Friday against the contentious extradition bill that could provide China access to people in Hong Kong territory.
The protest, also supported by the Hong Kong Bar Association and the Chinese University of Hong Kong, aims to convey a clear message to Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam: reverse and reject the bill.
Hong Kong Mothers is outraged by the comments Lam made in an interview with a local channel Wednesday, in which she drew comparisons between herself as a mother and the protesters as spoilt children, reported public broadcaster Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK).
"We are a group of mothers in Hong Kong, and we would definitely not use tear gas, potentially lethal rubber bullets and beanbag rounds on our own children, and we would not be able to stay unmoved if we see young people covered with blood after being bashed by police batons," the group said in a petition that has received tens of thousands of signatures in support.
The group was referring to the anti-riot methods used by the Hong Kong police on Wednesday, when thousands took to the streets demanding the bill be retracted.
Police, however, have claimed that its behavior was restrained and tolerant until around 3pm when they said some protesters attacked officers with bricks and metal bars, prompting them to respond.
About 150 cans of tear gas (in contrast, 87 were fired during the Umbrella Revolution protests in 2014), 20 beanbag shots and several rounds of rubber bullets were fired to disperse the crowd, according to Hong Kong Police Commissioner Stephen Lo.
“We had no choice but to escalate the use of force to disperse the crowd with a view to protecting the personal safety of our colleagues and other civilian staff,” Lo said at a press conference.
Lo also said that the police had arrested 11 people for "disorderly conduct in public place, unlawful assembly, assaulting police officers and other riot-related offenses," RTHK reported.
He confirmed that some of those arrested who were injured during police action are undergoing medical treatment.
Health service sources said that the number of people injured during Wednesday's protests is higher than what was previously announced and put the figure to at least 81, which included 22 officers, according to Lo.
Opponents of the bill, which include a broad spectrum of Hong Kong society, argued that the new law would leave citizens of Hong Kong unprotected against China due to the lack of checks and balances or separation of power.
Proposed in February and with a final vote scheduled to take place on Jun. 20, the bill passing into law would allow the Chief Executive's headquarters and the Hong Kong courts to process extradition requests from jurisdictions without prior agreement - in particular mainland China and Taiwan – and without legislative supervision.
In theory, local courts would review cases individually and could use veto power to prevent certain extraditions, and the Hong Kong government insisted that the bill attempts to fix a loophole.