Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam formally withdraws an extradition bill which ultimately has prompted massive civil unrest and violent clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement for months.
Lam announced her decision in a video message Wednesday night saying people have been injured for months as a result during the ongoing violent clashes.
Protestors have taken to the streets since June in response to the bill, worrying suspects would be subject to torture and may not receive fair trials if they were sent to China to be tried.
The chief executive voiced her optimism moving forward saying, “For many people, Hong Kong has become an unfamiliar place. Incidents over these past two months have shocked and saddened Hong Kong people. We are all very anxious about Hong Kong, our home. We all hope to find a way out of the current impasse and unsettling times.”
Lam also addressed the elephant in the room saying, “After more than two months of social unrest, it is obvious to many that this discontentment extends far beyond the bill.”
Lam suspended the extradition bill back in June, but shortly after demonstrations erupted, there have been wider calls for democracy.
Thousands have taken to the streets for the past three months, calling for Lam’s resignation and probes into alleged police brutality.
The protests started out peacefully and eventually escalated into violent clashes between protestors and law enforcement.
Lam’s announcement comes just one day after she denied reports suggesting she would step down if that was an option, and issue a “deep apology” in response.
Reuters reportedly obtained audio from a meeting with Lam last week suggesting she would resign if she could.
Meanwhile, the world has anxiously stood by idly to watch the Chinese response to the widespread unrest as trade talks between the U.S. and China continue.
The Chinese deployed troops to Hong Kong last week sparking fears of military intervention, although Beijing denied this motive.
Chinese officials encouraged Hong Kong protesters to abide by the law, but suggested the deployment was only a routine rotation.