HONG KONG Chief Executive Carrie Lam warned on Tuesday that the Chinese military could step in if the ongoing protests in the city continue, adding that four months of protests marked by a sharp escalation in police violence and protester blow-back was no longer “a peaceful movement for democracy”, media reported.
“I still strongly feel that we should find the solutions ourselves…but if the situation becomes so bad, then no options could be ruled out if we want Hong Kong to at least have another chance”, Lam asserted, cited by AP.
Lam also said Tuesday hat her administration had no plans to use emergency powers for the introduction of other laws.
Since early June, Hong Kong has seen an ongoing wave of rallies against a now-withdrawn extradition bill that have evolved into violent anti-China and anti-police demonstrations.
Police maintain that they use force only in response to violent actions on the part of the protesters. Protesters, for their part, note an increasingly aggressive security posture in the autonomous district. Beijing views Hong Kong in light of what the government refers to as foreign interference in China’s domestic affairs and fully supports the actions of the local authority.
On Saturday, in a purported bid to curb violence and increase the efficiency of police actions, the local government – under the emergency laws – banned face masks during rallies Those who violate the ban may get up to a year in prison or be fined 25,000 Hong Kong dollars ($3,200).
The next day, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets to protest the new measure, with many defying the ban.
Meanwhile, protesters remain in the streets of one of the biggest financial hubs in Asia, demanding Lam’s immediate resignation, while also demanding that Beijing retract its depiction of the protests as riots. Protesters also seek an independent inquiry into allegations of widespread police violence and the release of all those detained in previous arrest sweeps.