Jennifer Creery | Hong Kong Free Press
Chief Executive Carrie Lam has apologised to Hong Kong people saying she promises to accept criticism as thousands occupy roads in another mass protest against the postponed extradition bill.
The government said in a statement on Sunday that the city’s leader has accepted responsibility for recent clashes that broke out between police and protesters opposing the controversial bill: “The chief executive admits that large-scale confrontation and conflict took place in Hong Kong society due to the inadequacy of the government’s work, causing many residents to be disappointed and saddened,” it read.
“The chief executive apologises to the public, and promises that [she] will accept criticism in the most sincere and humble way,” they added.
Thousands marched on Sunday to call for the withdrawal of a controversial extradition bill, despite the government stating the day before that it would postpone its plans. As night fell, demonstrators occupied roads around government headquarters and legislature, in a repeat of the tactics seen during the 2014 pro-democracy Umbrella Movement.
“Having regard to the strong and different views in society, the government has suspended the legislative amendment exercise at the full Legislative Council with a view to restoring calmness in society as soon as possible and avoiding any injuries to any persons,” the statement added. “The government reiterated that there is no timetable for restarting the process.”
However, the government statement did not respond to the protesters’ demands that Lam retracts the controversial bill and resign.
“She did not respond to the demand of retracting the label of ‘riot’… More people came out to the march this time. It is clear that her actions triggered more to protest.”
Lam and the police chief Stephen Lo both described the protest on Wednesday as a “riot” – a designation that could land participants in prison for up to 10 years under the city’s colonial-era Public Order Ordinance.
Democratic Party lawmaker James To said he would not accept the apology: “Carrie Lam has no credibility,” he said. “How can she reconcile with the people now?”
To added that Lam must resign or residents may have to march every week.