Hong Kong (AFP)
The head of the Hong Kong Executive Carrie Lam hoped on Tuesday that the absence of violence on the sidelines of Sunday's big pro-democracy demonstration augured a "return to calm" in the former British colony, while refusing to accede to the demands of the protesters.
Hundreds of thousands of people invaded Hong Kong's inner-city neighborhoods on Sunday in a mass demonstration that, unlike the previous week's rallies, did not escalate into clashes between radicals and law enforcement.
"On Sunday, many Hong Kong people participated in a protest in Victoria Park that was largely peaceful," Lam said at a televised news conference.
"I hope with all my heart that this marks the beginning of a return to calm of society and an end to violence."
This political crisis, the most serious in Hong Kong since its retrocession in 1997, was born in June from the rejection of a draft law of the local pro-Beijing executive aimed at authorizing extraditions to China.
Protesters have five fundamental demands, including the total abandonment of the extradition bill, the resignation of Mrs. Lam, and a police investigation of the use of force, which used large quantities of tear gas. in recent weeks and often shot rubber bullets at the protesters.
Ms. Lam said that 174 complaints have been filed against the police since the beginning of the movement on June 9.
She said that these would be the subject of a "thorough" investigation of the "police policy", whose leader is appointed by her.
These internal investigations should not satisfy the protesters, who demand the opening of an independent investigation.
Ms. Lam focuses the anger of the protesters who consider that she did not give them any concessions. She announced that her government would continue "an information mission" on ways to resolve this unprecedented crisis.
The head of the executive took a more conciliatory tone Tuesday, while refusing to announce the official abandonment of the draft law on extraditions. He is currently officially suspended, which is not enough for the protesters.
"The bill is dead," she said. "We do not plan to resurrect it."
© 2019 AFP