The U.S. voiced new support Monday for Hong Kong democracy activists, saying they were demonstrating for basic rights.
State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said the hundreds of thousands of street protesters calling for withdrawal of a proposal to extradite criminal suspects to China for trial and the resignation of the city's pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam were engaged in peaceful protests for "things which are enshrined into basic law."
He said the demonstrators were marching "for the rights of freedom of speech, for freedom of assembly. ... And so of course, as we observe these, we continue to call on the Hong Kong government to address the concerns of their public."
Hong Kong democracy activist Joshua Wong joined the throngs of protesters calling for Lam's resignation after he was released from prison Monday.
"Carrie Lam must step down," Wong told reporters. Wong was one of the leaders of the 2014 Umbrella Movement and had spent two months in prison on charges related to those protests.
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