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story.lead_photo.caption Elderly Hong Kong residents with posters that read "Support young people" during a march in Hong Kong on Wednesday, July 17, 2019. Some 2,000 Hong Kong senior citizens, including a popular actress, marched Wednesday in a show of support for youths at the forefront of monthlong protests against a contentious extradition bill in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.(AP Photo/Phoebe Lai)

HONG KONG -- Thousands of Hong Kong senior citizens, including a popular actress, marched Wednesday in a show of support for youths at the forefront of monthlong protests against an extradition bill in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

The senior citizens also slammed the police for their handling of a protest Sunday in Hong Kong's Sha Tin district. That protest was mostly peaceful but ended in mayhem when scuffles in a shopping mall left dozens injured, including a policeman who had a finger bitten off. More than 40 people were detained.

Veteran actress and singer Deanie Ip, who joined Wednesday's demonstration, said police shouldn't use heavy-handed tactics against young protesters who "have no guns" and were peacefully expressing their frustrations.

"They are young people, and they are doing the right thing. Why are they being mistreated?" she said.

Ip and several others held a banner reading "Support youth to protect Hong Kong" as they marched through a financial district. Wearing white tops and black pants, marchers held placards that read "Never give up" and "Stay together."

Some elders in wheelchairs also joined the march. Organizers said about 8,000 people participated.

Hong Kong has been jolted for more than a month by a series of large-scale and occasional violent protests amid widespread anger over a proposed extradition law that would send suspects to mainland China to face trials. The bill is seen as a threat to Hong Kong's freedoms that were guaranteed for 50 years when China took back control of the former British colony in 1997.

Even though Hong Kong's embattled leader, Carrie Lam, suspended the bill and declared the legislation "dead," her moves failed to placate the protesters, who have demanded her resignation. Tens of thousands have continued to take to the streets, with the protests expanding into a bigger movement against China's growing intrusion.

Phil Chan, a senior fellow at the Institute for Security and Development Policy in Stockholm, said violent clashes between protesters and police could intensify unless the government starts to engage meaningfully with the people in meeting some of their demands, including the move toward universal suffrage.

Information for this article was contributed by Eileen Ng of The Associated Press.

A Section on 07/18/2019

Print Headline: Hong Kong's elderly join extradition bill protests

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