The convenor of the group, Jimmy Sham, said the “unreasonable restrictions” imposed by the police, who banned a planned march from the park to Central, meant that many people were not able to even get there.
Sham said the estimate was based on the number of people who gathered around Victoria Park, in Causeway Bay and Tin Hau.
But there were still many more who were unable to get to the venue of the rally, who ended up walking away towards Admiralty and Central who weren’t counted, he said.
Sham urged the Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, to listen to the demonstrators’ demands, noting that they had been “very peaceful and rational” as Lam had requested.
But he warned that if their five demands – including a full withdrawal of the extradition bill and an inquiry into alleged police brutality – aren’t met, she would effectively be “inciting more violent protests”.
He said some protesters have only been resorting to violence because her administration has been ignoring peaceful demonstrations.
A vice-convenor, Bonnie Leung said the high turnout has “revitalized” the campaign against the extradition law.
“If the government continues to ignore people’s voices, they would only force protesters to use other means, including some radical means, to protest”, she said.
“Hong Kong people will soldier on until we see the government respond to all of our five demands”, she added.
Leung also urged the police to reconsider their strategies for dealing with protesters, noting that one of the themes for Sunday’s rally is to “stop the police and gangsters from using violence and destroying our city.”
The Civil Human Rights Front has already applied to hold another march on August 31.
The government issued a statement after the rally saying that the most important thing now is to restore social order, after which the government will try to rebuild social harmony by speaking to the public in a sincere manner.
It noted that the rally was largely peaceful, but inconvenienced the public because many major roads were occupied by the protesters.
Last updated: 2019-08-18 HKT 23:19