Cross-sector professionals in Hong Kong on Monday spoke up against the prolonged violent protests, which have roiled the city for nearly four months with no sign of abating.
The condemnations came after anti-government rioters subjected Hong Kong to another weekend of turmoil with arson attacks, gasoline bombs and assaults on residents.
In a joint statement, 372 Hong Kong lawyers condemned all kinds of illegal acts of violence, and stressed their adherence to the rule of law, a core value long-cherished by Hong Kong society.
They said they decided to break their silence as they don’t want to see the city sink further with widening social rifts.
Trying to stop rioting
The lawyers urged their peers to maintain their professionalism, irrespective of their political views, and appealed to all Hong Kong people to show more respect for the safety, freedom and property rights of others.
Nearly 1,000 professionals from the architecture and engineering sectors also expressed firm opposition to violence on Monday.
In a joint statement published in Sing Tao Daily, they noted that the continued unrest has dealt an unprecedented blow to Hong Kong’s rule of law.
“Destroying it is easy. Yet, reconstructing the vandalized city is hard,” they noted. The professionals urged all residents to join hands in restoring peace and order.
The protracted violence also drew condemnation from the local education sector. In a joint statement on Monday, 25 local educational groups called on students to stay away from violence and any illegal acts that may ruin their future.
The call was echoed by principals of secondary and primary schools across the city. On Monday, school heads associations in the New Territories, Kowloon and Hong Kong Island jointly called on students to put personal safety first and avoid joining violent protests.
They made the appeal in the wake of online calls to escalate protests on Tuesday to disrupt celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Prosecutors not spared
Verbal violence against the city’s public prosecutors was also denounced in a statement inssued by the Department of Justice on Monday.
It said any threat or insult against public prosecutors should not be tolerated, and there will be no political considerations in deciding on prosecutions.
The department was responding to an incident in which a senior public prosecutor was besieged and verbally abused after a hearing at the High Court last Friday.
A spokesman said that in each case, the department must make an objective and professional assessment of the available evidence and applicable law, irrespective of the political beliefs or background of the people involved.
“While prosecutors are not immune from criticism, they should not become victims of such an unwarranted abuse,” he stressed.
“Prosecutors do not conduct criminal prosecutions out of their personal interests, and any arbitrary attack on our prosecutorial work would undermine our rule of law,” the spokesman added.
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