The mass protests in Hong Kong entered their ninth week Monday as protestors sought to disrupt public transportation services.
Officials were forced to re-route traffic, suspend subway services, and cancel at least 100 flights.
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The protests began in early June when Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced her intentions to sign an extradition agreement with mainland China. The announcement sparked unprecedented mass protests that have continued even after the bill was withdrawn.
To date, more than 1 million people have taken to the streets to demand greater Democracy, Lam’s resignation, and an investigation into police brutality.
Beijing has tacitly supported police’s handling of the situation, which in recent weeks has included the use of rubber bullets, pepper spray, and tear gas to disperse crowds.
More than 40 people were injured last week when members of organized crime gangs (or “triads”) attacked protestors in Yuen Long. At least one public nurse has suggested the use of medical sabotage against police officers.
The civil unrest is the worst Hong Kong has seen since the territory was returned to China in 1997.
In a speech delivered Monday afternoon, Lam condemned the violence and described the city as ‘dangerous and unsafe.’ She blamed the violence on a small group of radicals and did not address protestors’ demands.
As noted by sociologist Professor Ching Kwan Lee, Lam’s ongoing refusal to address her people’s frustration could be making the situation worse. “More repression and police brutality, injuries, and arrests will only create more solidarity for people who find a common enemy.”
Carrie Lam is “full of lies,” argues Judy Tseng, 35, who works for a local insurance company. “We are not what she said – opposing ‘one country, two systems.’ What we are really against is her incompetent government.”
Representatives from China’s State Council plan to hold a press conference on Tuesday to address the ongoing unrest in Hong Kong. Last week, the Council publicly announced its support for Hong Kong’s government.
Author’s Note: The situation in Hong Kong is getting worse and worse, and the tragic thing is that mainland China will probably crush them and nobody will lift a finger to help. I see no path forward for a reversal of the changes that are in the works.