Hong Kong riot police clashed with pro-democracy protesters for a third straight day Monday as the city’s leader warned the global financial hub was nearing a “very dangerous situation”, and a rare strike caused transport chaos.
Clouds of tear gas billowed across the working-class district of Wong Tai Sin on Monday afternoon as the city buckled under rare general strike, which protesters pushed to emphasise they still had broad public support following two months of increasingly violent unrest.
In a rare public appearance since the crisis began, chief executive Carrie Lam warned protesters she would not cave to their demands.
“(They) have seriously undermined Hong Kong’s law and order and are pushing our city, the city that we all love and many of us helped to build, to the verge of a very dangerous situation,” Lam said.
She later referenced chants by protesters for a “revolution”, describing this as a challenge to the “one country, two systems” framework under which Hong Kong has been ruled since it returned from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
“I dare say they are trying to destroy Hong Kong,” said Lam, who was appointed by a pro-Beijing committee.
She spoke on a day that saw widespread civil disobedience across the city.
Activists descended on subway stations during morning rush hour, deliberately keeping open doors to stop trains departing and paralysing large parts of a network that millions of people use daily.
In the afternoon they held seven simultaneous rallies, stretching the resources of police who fired tear gas in at least two locations.
The most sustained volleys were fired in Wong Tai Sin, known for its famous Taoist temple, where local residents and protesters had previously fought with police over the weekend.
“Support for the political strike today seems strong and it has been bolstered further by the escalating violence between the police and protesters,” political analyst Dixon Wong told AFP.
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SOURCE: Times of India