Members of the public present a fruit basket to a police representative in appreciation of the force’s dedication and efforts in keeping public order and safety during the recent wave of protests in Hong Kong. (PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG-The riot that injured many protesters and police officers on Sunday in Sha Tin was one of the worst of such recent crashes, prompting a chorus of condemnation from legislators, civic leaders and concerned citizens.
The lawmakers condemned the conducts of the protesters as “extremely irresponsible”. They praised the police for their selfless devotion to duty in defending the rule of law
Leading the chorus were 39 pro-establishment legislators. In a joint statement issued on Monday, they strongly deplored the “organized” acts of violence by radical protesters.
The protesters were well organized and their actions were elaborately planned, the lawmakers noted. As in past incidents, there was always a group of radicals setting up barricades and inciting the other protesters by hurling insults at the police before leading the charge against the police cordons.
The lawmakers condemned the conducts of the protesters as “extremely irresponsible”. They praised the police for their selfless devotion to duty in defending the rule of law. For that reason, “no one should smear or slander the police and hurt its morale,” they said.
Such organized acts of violence must be stopped immediately to prevent further damage to public security and social stability, the statement said.
On Sunday night, masked radical protesters threw bricks, umbrellas and bottles at police officers inside a shopping center in Sha Tin when the police tried to disperse them. About 40 offenders were arrested for illegal assembly and assaulting the police. One of those apprehended allegedly bit part of a finger off an officer, according to the police. At least 28 people were sent to hospital for treatments including more than 10 police officers.
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Earlier, similar protests with violent clashes broke out in some other districts including Tsim Sha Tsui, Sheung Shui, Tuen Mun and Yau Tong in Kowloon and the New Territory in the past two weeks.
The business sector echoed the lawmakers in condemning the violent protests. In a statement issued on Monday, the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce (CGCC) said the violent acts had seriously disrupted public order and threatened the city’s law and order, as well as public safety.
The Sha Tin clashes had crossed all boundaries of acceptable conduct in a civilized society, and challenged the spirit of the rule of law and the freedom of expression, CGCC Chairman Jonathan Choi Koon-shum said.
Choi urged Hong Kong people to remain peaceful and rational while expressing their views and expressed hope that the city’s core values defined by its rule of law would be preserved.
The Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions, the city’s largest labor union, also voiced their objections to violent protests.
In a statement, the union urged the government to rigorously enforce the law and arrest the “rioters” as soon as possible. It also called for better equipment and assistance to protect police officers from attacks by rioters.
Stanley Ng Chau-pei, chairman of the HKFTU, slammed lawmakers of the opposition camp for conniving with violent protesters.
He urged the Hong Kong community to cooperate with the police to avoid unnecessary clashes in future.
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