Chief Executive Carrie Lam has slammed protesters as “extremely selfish” for attempting to paralyse Hong Kong over the course of two days.
Protesters on Tuesday blocked roads across Hong Kong for the second day in a row as the MTR Corporation closed several stations and parts of Central ground to a halt. Police raised a black flag warning crowds of impending tear gas but left without firing shortly after.
Lam said ahead of a weekly Executive Council meeting that protesters’ attempts to bring the city to a standstill would be fruitless.
“They want Hong Kong to stop running – it is extremely selfish,” she said. “We will not compromise with radical behaviours and persist on going to work and school.”
On Monday, protesters attempted to disrupt the morning commute as part of a plan to mobilise a mass general strike. They urged students to boycott classes, business owners to close shops and employees to skip work, in keeping with the city’s 24 weeks of civil resistance calling for democracy and accountability for the police handling of the ongoing crisis.
Several universities have suspended classes for two days in response to the ongoing unrest.
Asked if the government would order schools to be suspended, Lam refused, saying: “We cannot easily stop some daily activities, otherwise we would fall into a trap.”
Lam also expressed thanks to residents for clearing objects left on the road by protesters: “They have injected positivity into a chaotic society,” she said.
Several former top officials issued a joint statement in newspapers urging the government to ensure the District Council election would go ahead smoothly as planned.
The embattled Hong Kong leader said the government respects the right of four million people to elect their officials, adding there is no deadline set on when – if ever – to decide to cancel the election, however, she said the decision would be difficult to make.
Lam on Monday said it was “wishful thinking” to think the government would yield to protesters’ demands in the face of escalating violence. She also called demonstrators the “enemy of the people.”
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