Protest leaders in Hong Kong have said they would press ahead with a planned rally tomorrow despite the government suspending a proposed extradition bill, saying only a full withdrawal of the divisive law would satisfy them.

"We need to tell the government that the Hong Kong people will persist and will not discontinue our protest towards the government unless we see the withdrawal of the bill," Jimmy Sham, from the Civil Human Rights Front, told reporters.

The government of Hong Kong earlier announced the bill that would allow extraditions to China would be "suspended", in a major step back from her government after a week of unprecedented protests.

The city's pro-Chinese leader Carrie Lam has come under huge pressure to abandon the controversial legislation, including from her own political allies and advisers.

"The government has decided to suspend the legislative amendment exercise, restart our communication with all sectors of society, do more... work and listen to different views of society," Ms Lam said.

"We have no intention to set a deadline for this work and promise to report to and consult members of the legislative council panel on security before we decide on the next step forward."

The international finance hub was rocked by the worst political violence since its 1997 handover to China on Wednesday as tens of thousands of protesters were dispersed by riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.

As criticism mounted, signs also emerged of a growing discomfort among Communist Party leaders in Beijing, and Ms Lam held her press conference at the same government complex that was besieged by protesters earlier in the week.

The South China Morning Post said Ms Lam held an emergency meeting on Friday night with her advisers while Chinese officials were also meeting in the nearby city of Shenzhen to map a way out of the impasse.

Tensions were running high with protest organisers planning another mass rally on Sunday.

Ms Lam, who is appointed by a committee stacked with Beijing loyalists, had previously refused to consider abandoning the bill, despite months of criticism from business and legal bodies - and a record breaking rally on Sunday where organisers said more than one million protesters hit the streets.

"I feel deep sorrow and regret that the deficiencies in our work and various other factors have stirred up substantial controversies and disputes in society following the relatively calm periods of the past two years," Ms Lam said.

Yesterday she found herself facing growing calls from within her own political camp to reverse course and tamp down spiralling public anger - including from hardline pro-Chinese politicians.

Opposition to the extradition bill has united an unusually wide cross section of Hong Kong.

Protest organisers had been calling for a full withdrawal of the bill, not a postponement.

Beijing has vocally supported the bill and earlier this week threw its full support behind the Lam administration, calling protesters "rioters".

But it has since sought to distance itself as public anger spiralled.

Thousands of parents gathered in a park in the heart of the city's commercial district last night to condemn the use of rubber bullets and tear gas against predominantly young protesters on Wednesday.