Protesters gather in the Legislative Council's Chamber during a demonstration on the 22nd anniversary of the territory's handover to China on Monday. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo
July 2 (UPI) -- A day after protesters stormed Hong Kong's Legislative Council and vandalized its interior, the island's Chief Executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday she condemned the violence and hoped the public would agree with her.
In a 4 a.m. press conference, Lam said she was "very outraged" by the protesters who broke into the Legislative Council building during a protest march Monday, the 22nd anniversary of the day the former British colony was returned to Beijing rule.
On Monday, protesters chocked the streets near the Legislative Council building demanding the government rescind a controversial law that would allow for some fugitives from mainland justice be sent to Bejing to be tried by courts there.
"So, I hope the community at large will agree with us that these acts we have seen it is right for us to condemn it and hope society will return to normal as soon as possible," she said, adding the government would "pursue the lawbreaking behaviour to the end."
Lam argued that though the government has not agreed to every one of the protesters' demands, it has shelved the bill that kicked off the mass protests in early June, South China Morning Post reported.
"The bill will expire, or the bill will die, in July 2020 when the current Legco term expires," she said, referring to the Legislative Council by its common portmanteau. "That is a very positive response to the demand we have heard."
The protesters demanded -- among a complete withdrawal of the bill, the release of arrested protesters and an investigation into alleged police brutality committed against protesters during an earlier demonstration -- that Lam resign.
However, pro-democracy legislators attributed Monday's violence to Lam for her refusal to properly address the protesters.
"She has not shown any sincerity to respond or to communicate so far," the pro-democratic legislators said in a joint statement with the Civil Human Rights Front, the organization that planned the July 1 march as well as previous protests. "She has rejected to face the society, ignored the demands of the people and pushed youngsters towards desperation."
The legislators said they made a request to discuss the situation with Lam but were turned down.
"We cannot be angrier at her rejection to the request, which proves her 'willingness to listen' to be the ugliest political lie," the legislator said, referencing an apology speech she gave June 18 in response to the controversy the extradition bill had caused.
Meanwhile, a group of 41 pro-Bejing legislators urged the public and its pro-democracy counterparts to reject the violence and condemn the "extremist militants."
"We call on our pro-democracy colleagues to distinguish between black and white, condemn these extremist militants and uphold the rule of law," they said in a joint statement.
In response, The Civil Human Rights Front urged the public to stand with the "egg," not with the "high wall," the Hong Kong Free Press reported.
"We can have different views on these actions, but we urge you all not to blame the [protesters] and not to distance yourselves [from them]," the group said on Facebook.
Protesters rally against extradition bill in Hong Kong
Thousands of people take part in the annual protest
that coincides with the date in 1997 when Britain handed over control of Hong Kong back to China. Opposition to a proposed Hong Kong law allowing extraditions to China has created increased activism. Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo