World Press Photo 2020

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Protests began in Hong Kong at the end of March 2019 in response to government proposals to amend existing legislation and allow extradition to mainland China. Anti-government demonstrations gathered momentum over the following weeks as pro-democracy groups united, with students playing a large role in protests and in human-chain rallies.

On June 12, tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered around the Legislative Council building ahead of a debate on the extradition laws, and met with violent opposition from police. Protests continued to escalate, both in frequency and size, as did police countermeasures. The authorities banned the wearing of face masks, and at a demonstration on Oct 1, the day marking the 70th anniversary of the declaration of the People's Republic of China, police fired live ammunition at protesters for the first time.

After initially proposing postponements and amendments to legislation, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam eventually announced that she would withdraw the Bill. This was done on Oct 23, but protesters' demands had broadened to include implementation of genuine universal suffrage and release of arrested protesters, and unrest continued into 2020.

A man holding up a protest poster in Shatin, Hong Kong, as people gather to sing Glory To Hong Kong, a protest song that gained popularity in the city as an unofficial anthem, on Sept 11, 2019. PHOTO: © NICOLAS ASFOURI, DENMARK, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Students crossing a road to school in Hong Kong after participating in a human-chain rally on Sept 12, 2019. PHOTO: © NICOLAS ASFOURI, DENMARK, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Riot police charging protesters in Nathan Road, Hong Kong, on Dec 1, 2019. PHOTO: © NICOLAS ASFOURI, DENMARK, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
A woman holding up an umbrella (a symbol of protest) during demonstrations in the Causeway Bay district of Hong Kong on Oct 1, 2019, the day police first used live ammunition against protesters. PHOTO: © NICOLAS ASFOURI, DENMARK, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

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