hong kong protesters
© Reuters / Athit Perawongmetha
The chief executive of Hong Kong has apologized to the nation after thousands of residents rallied in a massive city protest despite the government's suspension of the proposed extradition bill.

The huge march went ahead as planned on Sunday afternoon, a day after Hong Kong's Chief Executive Carrie Lam made a stunning climedown by suspending the controversial bill indefinitely, just days after she vowed to see it through.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered for one of the biggest demonstrations in decades to call for the bill to permanently scrapped, with fears that Lam could one day revive the proposal, and for the city's leader to resign.

Lam appeared to cave in to pressure from critics who said the bill would erode the city's autonomy from China. Later on Sunday, Lam apologized to the public with "utmost sincerity and humility" for causing "conflict and disputes."

This is the second massive protest this week over the proposed bill, which would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial. Residents fear the bill would jeopardize the city's reputation as an international financial hub, with some tycoons already moving their funds offshore.