HONG KONG (AP) — Lawmakers on each side of Hong Kong’s political divide said Monday the other side bears responsibility after violence during anti-government protests over the weekend.
Pro-government members of the Legislative Council condemned the acts of protesters who blocked streets, threw gasoline bombs and assaulted police officers.
“You can say a lot of different opinions to the government,” said Starry Lee, chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong. “But violence is different. If we can accept violence, our city will be ruined.”
Pro-democracy legislators countered that the government and the police need to take responsibility, the former for introducing the extradition legislation that sparked the protests and the latter for what they say is selective enforcement of the law targeting government opponents.
Kwok Ka-ki, a member of the Civic Party, blamed Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam. He called her creation of a platform for dialogue a delaying tactic rather than an attempt to resolve the conflict.
“She is the one who should shoulder all the responsibility, and now she is trying to get away from all the responsibility and shifting the focus to the so- called platform.”
A hardline contingent took over streets on Saturday and Sunday following peaceful pro-democracy marches. They argue that peaceful protest is not enough to get the government to respond. Police used tear gas to clear the streets and arrested more than 50 people.
The movement has five demands including democratic elections and an independent inquiry into what it alleges is police violence in breaking up demonstrations.