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Hong Kong leader calls protesters "rioters"

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on July 15, 2019 - Duration: 01:44s

Hong Kong leader calls protesters "rioters"

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Monday protesters who clashed with police on the weekend were rioters, a legally loaded term in the city, and she supported the police in upholding the law and seeking perpetrators.

Francesca Lynagh reports.

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Hong Kong leader calls protesters "rioters"

Rioters… That's what Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam has labelled the people involved in these clashes on Sunday (July 14).

The term has sparked outrage during the recent protests, as a conviction for rioting can carry a 10-year prison sentence.

Lam made the comments at a hospital where she said six police officers were being treated for injuries from the chaos, including one who had a segment of his finger bitten off by a protester.

Government figures suggest a total of 28 people from both sides sustained injuries.

And according to the police chief, more than 40 people were arrested.

On Monday (July 15), Lam called for more understanding from the public.

(SOUNDBITE) (Cantonese) HONG KONG CHIEF EXECUTIVE CARRIE LAM, SAYING: "On June 15, I announced that I would completely stop all work related to the procedure of the bill.

I hope society can understand that the issue that triggered the protest no longer exists.

We have considered all the factors and come up with practical responses.

We hope to gain understanding from society.'' The protests - which started out of anger over the now-suspended extradition bill - have started morphing into demonstrations over democracy and broader issues in society.

It's Hong Kong's worst political crisis since it was handed back to China in 1997.

Over the weekend, protestors waved British and American flags - with banners appealing to U.S. President Trump to liberate the city.

Protesters are still demanding the official withdrawal of the bill, Lam's resignation, and the withdrawal of the word riot to describe the demonstrations.

But with no end in sight, the city is braced for rolling protests over the coming weeks.

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