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Hong Kong leader urges dialog after bill’s withdrawal

Hong Kong’s chief executive has renewed her call for protests to end, a day after she formally withdrew a proposed bill that had stirred controversy.

Carrie Lam announced in a pre-recorded televised message on Wednesday that she was scrapping the unpopular extradition law, which had triggered three months of rallies by millions of people in the fanatical hub.

Lam said the bill would be withdrawn at the next session of the city’s Legislative Council, scheduled for next month.

At a press conference on Thursday, Lam adopted a conciliatory tone and said her decision to fully withdraw the bill was an attempt “to help prevent violence and stop chaos as soon as possible, resume the social order and help our economy and people’s livelihood to move forward.”

“It is obvious to many of us that the discontentment in society extends far beyond the bill,” she added, saying she recognized that anger over inequality and the government had spiraled and needed to be addressed.

Lam expressed hope that the annulment of the bill could be a basis for dialog with anti-government protesters.

Hong Kong plunged into unrest in June and has been the scene of anti-government demonstrations over the extradition bill, which would have allowed local authorities to detain and extradite suspects to be tried in mainland courts.