Pacific Place mall closed during extradition bill protests

Retail stores in Hong Kong’s Pacific Place shopping mall remained closed for the second day this morning as protests against the extradition bill continued at Admiralty.

On Wednesday mall management ordered tenancies to close after police issued a warning to the public to avoid the Admiralty area where tens of thousands of protestors were facing off against police.

This morning, in a post on Facebook, mall management said: “The safety of our visitors, tenants and staff is paramount, therefore all shops at Pacific Place mall will remain closed today.”

Drone footage broadcast live on Apple Daily’s YouTube channel last night showed hundreds of people sheltering inside the mall as police used tear gas to clear the streets outside of protestors. One protestor took to Twitter to applaud the mall’s support yesterday:

While tenancies remained shuttered yesterday, people were free to use the entrances and underground walkways. The hotels above the mall remained open, along with One and Two Pacific Place office towers. Today, however, shutters remained down preventing anyone from entering and advising visitors to the office towers, hotels and apartments to use the Justice Drive entrance.

Admiralty station was also closed this morning, at the request of police.

Across the city, many independent retailers and food-and-beverage outlets closed their stores in protest at the bill or to allow owners or staff to attend the rally.

“Even though we can’t do business for a day, for me there is nothing more important than defending our freedom of speech and freedom of thought,” Alan Li, who closed his bridalwear store Alca&Co in Tsim Sha Tsui, told Reuters.

Li’s store trades seven days a week, usually closing only for Chinese New Year. But he said while he was uncomfortable linking his business rto political issue he felt he had to make a stand.

Less subtle were the owners of Bleak House Books which closed in protest at the bill.

“Ah that pesky Hong Kong spirit is rearing its ugly head again. Refusing to back down in the face of adversity,” the company posted on Facebook.

Mainstream media estimated as many as 100 stores closed yesterday, mostly independents such as cafes, bookstores, electronics outlets, apparel stores and florists.

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