Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam on Tuesday warned protesters that they were pushing the city “into an abyss” by attacking its institutions, in what she called attempts to “destroy the rule of law”.
The Chief Executive said the mass sit-in at the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA), which forced the cancellation of all Monday flights and also 180 more on Tuesday, as well as police station sieges and widespread road blocks during protests, had made the city no longer safe, reports the South China Morning Post.
Speaking to the media on Tuesday morning before reconvening the Executive Council, her de facto cabinet, Lam said: “Hong Kong is seriously wounded. It will take a long time to recover.”
She asked protesters whether they wanted to “push Hong Kong into an abyss”.
In a direct appeal to demonstrators, she said: “Let’s set aside differences and spend one minute to look at our city and our home. Could we bear to push it into an abyss where everything will perish?
“We need to object to violence and maintain the rule of law … When this all calms down, we will start to have sincere dialogues and rebuild harmony.”
But she brushed aside questions about whether she would resign.
“As Chief Executive, will be responsible for rebuilding Hong Kong’s economy and to engage as widely as possible, to listen as attentively as possible to people’s grievances, and try to help Hong Kong to move on,” she said.
The Chief Executive also said police had been following guidelines and using minimum force when dealing with protesters.
Hong Kong has been shaken by protests, violence and non-cooperative action since June 9, sparked by the now-abandoned extradition bill, which would have allowed criminal suspects to be sent back to mainland China.