Hong Kong leader says escalation of violence is becoming more serious - GulfToday

Hong Kong leader says escalation of violence is becoming more serious


Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks at a press conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Philip FONG/ AFP

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday the escalation of violence in anti-government protests that have rocked the Asian financial centre for three months is becoming more serious.

Lam was speaking in public for the first time since anti-government demonstrations escalated on Sunday, when police fired water cannon and volleys of tear gas in running battles with protesters who threw bricks and petrol bombs.

The Chinese-ruled city is grappling with its biggest political crisis since its handover to Beijing in 1997 and Communist Party authorities have sent a clear warning that forceful intervention is possible to quell the violence.

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam holds a news conference in Hong Kong on Tuesday. Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters

Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed leader said she was confident the city’s government could handle the unrest by itself and she would not give up on building a platform for dialogue.

But she said the time was not right to set up an independent inquiry into the crisis, one of the cornerstone demands of protesters.

Police officers fire tear gas at demonstrators during a protest in Yuen Long, Hong Kong, China. File photo/Reuters

The government said on Monday illegal violence was pushing Hong Kong to the brink of great danger after weekend clashes that included the first gun-shot and the arrest of 86 people, the youngest just 12.

Violence will push Hong Kong down path of no return City leader

The protests escalated in mid-June over a now-suspended extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong people to be sent to mainland China for trial in courts controlled by the Communist Party.

But the demonstrations have evolved over 12 straight weeks into a broad demand for greater democracy under the "one country, two systems" formula following the handover to China by colonial ruler Britain in 1997. Many Hong Kong residents believe Beijing is eroding the city’s autonomy and their rights.


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