UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday she hoped peaceful protest over the weekend would be the start of a push for calm and talks with peaceful protesters would provide a “way out” for the Chinese-ruled city.
Hundreds of thousands of protesters demonstrated peacefully despite heavy rains on Sunday in the 11th week of often violent demonstrations.
“I hope from the bottom of my heart that this will be the beginning of the community’s return to peace and non-violence,” Lam said.
“We will immediately begin work on a platform for dialogue. I hope that this dialogue will be based on mutual understanding and respect and will find a way out of Hong Kong today. ”
Violence erupted in June over a pending bill that would have allowed the extradition of suspected criminals in Hong Kong to the Chinese mainland for trial.
The unrest has fueled concerns about undermining the freedoms guaranteed by the “one country, two systems” formula that has been in place since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, including judicial independence and the right to protest.
The protests triggered sharp reactions from Beijing, which accused foreign countries, including the United States, of stoking tensions in the city. China has also sent a clear warning that forceful intervention is possible and paramilitary forces are conducting maneuvers in neighboring Shenzhen province.
Organizers said 1.7 million people took part in Sunday’s protests and turnout indicates the protest movement still has a broad support base despite chaotic scenes last week when protesters occupied the airport.
More protests are planned in the next few days, including a protest for subway workers on Wednesday, high school students on Thursday and accountants on Friday.
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