July 5 (UPI) -- After violent protests in Hong Kong this week that involved 2 million people and led to hundreds of injuries and arrests, the city is bracing for more potential trouble this weekend.
Protesters are set to gather at the city's San Wo Lane Playground on Saturday and march to Tuen Mun Park. Another rally is set for Sunday, when protesters will march from Salisbury Garden to the high-speed rail link's West Kowloon Terminus.
This week's protests began Monday and turned violent when demonstrators broke into the Hong Kong Legislative Council, shattering windows and spraying pro-democracy graffiti on the walls. The demonstrations are a response to a pending bill that would allow extradition of fugitives from Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland.
Some protesters have been charged with unlawful assembly, possession of offensive weapons, assaulting a police officer, failing to carry identification and violating the Air Navigation Order. Police said before they broke into the Legislative Council, protesters charged police blockades during a July 1 ceremony that recognized 22 years since Britain turned over Hong Kong to Chinese rule. Police, in response, used pepper spray and batons to hold them back.
Friday, student leaders from eight Hong Kong universities said in a joint statement they will agree to meet Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam if she promises to hold public town halls and not punish those arrested for the rallies.
"It would be better than holding closed-door meetings," social worker Catherine Leung Lai-yee told the South China Morning Post. "But I also think some rules should be laid down beforehand so that the open meetings can be held peacefully.
Some Hong Kong lawmakers said the proposed extradition law would help prevent the city from becoming a safe haven for criminals. Protesters fear it would open the door for China to pursue political dissidents and erode long-cherished freedoms in the city.