The decision to cave in to one of protesters’ five core demands marked a dramatic U-turn for Lam, who for months has refused to withdraw the bill.

“We must find ways to address the discontent in society and look for solutions,” Lam said in a a video statement Wednesday evening. “After more than two months of social unrest, it is obvious to many that this discontentment extends far beyond the bill.”

But Lam refused to give ground on protesters’ four other demands, including greater democracy for the city and an independent commission into police conduct, saying all investigations would be carried out by the existing Independent Police Complaints Council (IPCC).