- Police confirm Sunday’s mass protest was relatively calm with one official saying ‘if protesters don’t use violence, the police will not use force’
- But protesters say government must capitalise on the new-found peace – now
Ignoring the calls made clear in Sunday's peaceful march risks pushing the city to the point of no return, pro-democracy lawmakers and protest supporters warned Hong Kong's leaders on Monday.
The admonition came a day after hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets in a peaceful mass demonstration that brought no violence or clashes with the police.
Such days have been rare over the past two months as the campaign against an unpopular extradition bill morphed into a full-blown anti-government movement " and as the use of force has escalated on both sides.
Protest supporters say the time to capitalise on the detente is now.
"It is a very rare pocket of time in which (Chief Executive) Carrie Lam (Cheng Yuet-ngor) can respond in a rational manner and meet the five demands of the people," said Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, a Labour Party lawmaker, on Monday.
Cheung was referring to a list of protesters' demands, which includes a complete withdrawal of the now-abandoned extradition bill and an independent investigation into the police's use of force.
"Otherwise, she is the culprit who could push Hong Kong into an abyss of no return."
At a press conference on Monday organised by protesters, a speaker who called himself Brian Tong said the protesters had demonstrated "grace and fluidity" during Sunday's mass demonstration.
We have delivered Lam's request to cease all force from our end " it should now be the government's turn to listenSpeaker who called himself Brian Tong
"We have delivered Lam's request to cease all force from our end " it should now be the government's turn to listen," Tong said.
He added that it would be up to the public to decide whether to escalate the protests again.
The Hong Kong police said on Monday afternoon that Sunday's protest was relatively peaceful compared with the violent protests of the past two months.
"We are aware that the vast majority (of the protest) was peaceful, so we did not intervene," said John Tse Chun-chung, the chief superintendent of Police Public Relations Branch.
The police approved the rally at Victoria Park on Sunday, but had banned the Civil Human Rights Front from marching from the park to Chater Garden in Central. The front estimated at least 1.7 million people joined the demonstration.
Tse continued: "If protesters don't use violence, the police will not use force. The protest that took place on Sunday shows if protesters are peaceful, rational and orderly, the police will not and have no reason to intervene.
He defended the decision to prohibit the march, even though it went ahead in the end.
"The police assessment then was based on the main situation before August 15," Tse said.
He said police made decisions on protest applications based on assessments with intelligence units.
"Just because no violence happened at Sunday's protest doesn't mean the police risk assessment and decision on August 15 was wrong," he said.
Since Sunday, several follow-up proposals have made their way onto LIHKG " the reddit-like website that has become a virtual command centre for the movement " with some users proposing a deadline for the government to respond to the demands.
One suggestion, titled the "Hong Kong Way", calls for peacefully forming three human chains on Friday on the pavements along three MTR lines in the city " the Tsuen Wan, Kwun Tong and Island lines.
The action would be a nod to the Baltic Way, a protest on the same date in 1989 when two million people formed a human chain that stretched across the three Baltic States that sought independence form the former Soviet Union.
Another proposal was a non-cooperation campaign called "Stuck With You" that called on protesters to slow down traffic to the airport. This action would be a follow-up to the five-day sit-in last week that forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights.
On Monday, full-page advertisements, calling on the international community to observe an alleged police brutality problem in Hong Kong, were placed in 14 newspapers in 11 countries.
Property tycoon Gordon Wu Ying-sheung of Hopewell Holdings placed a full-page advert in local newspapers on Monday, expressing gratitude to the police and warning that condoning violence would only bring the city down.
Lui Che-woo, the billionaire chairman of property developer K Wah International, described the Sunday protest as peaceful and called on Hongkongers of all generations to sit down for a dialogue to heal the city through rational means.
On Sunday, the government said in a statement that a "sincere dialogue" with the public would take place when everything had calmed down.
Andrew Wan Siu-kin, a Democratic Party lawmaker, slammed the government's statement as "illogical".
"Any government in the world in the face of a political crisis would defuse it immediately, instead of counting on the people to calm down," he said.
Additional reporting by Karen Zhang
Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.查看原始文章