HONG KONG: The political disturbance that has upset Hong Kong Carrie Lam express regret on Tuesday, but the pro-Beijing chief executive denied to bend to demands for her letter of resignation.
The semi-autonomous territory has been plunged into its biggest crisis in decades, with millions of people taking to the streets to request the withdrawal of planned legislation that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.
Lam put off the bill on Saturday after two huge rallies that saw isolated sessions of violence between some protesters and the police.
But that failed to control public anger, and an even bigger rally on Sunday almost over two million people, organizers said — more than a quarter of the population.
Lam told a press conference, “I personally have to shoulder much of the responsibility. This has led to controversies, disputes and anxieties in society”.
“For this I offer my most sincere apology to all people of Hong Kong.” Activists have demanded the bill be withdrawn completely, for Lam to step down, and for police to be inspected for using rubber bullets and tear gas against protesters.
A crowd has been forming outside the legislature. Sisco Chan, a 21-year-old student, told HKFP that she did not accept Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s apology: “It’s bullshit… I feel angry and like I’m losing hope in Hong Kong. What else can we do?” https://t.co/3bP6ZAM1FB pic.twitter.com/TPPZshBLxL
— Hong Kong Free Press (@HongKongFP) June 18, 2019
They have also requested for all charges to be released against anyone imprisoned during the protests.
But Lam gave no sign she was ready to quit, saying instead she wanted to “continue to work very hard… to meet the aspirations of the Hong Kong people”.
Lam silently recommended, though, that the extradition bill was unlikely to be rejuvenated given the public sentiment. She said “I will not proceed again with this legislative exercise if these fears and anxieties could not be adequately addressed”.
She added, “If the bill… (does) not make the legislative council by July next year, it will expire… and the government will accept that reality.”