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Hong Kong protest: Some condemn, some ask for understanding

July 2, 2019
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Police try to clear protesters with tear gas outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, during the early hours of Tuesday, July 2, 2019. Hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong swarmed into the legislature's main building Monday night, tearing down portraits of legislative leaders and spray-painting pro-democracy slogans on the walls of the main chamber as frustration over a lack of response from the administration to opposition demands boiled over. (Jeff Cheng/HK01 via AP) HONG KONG OUT, NO ARCHIVE
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Police try to clear protesters with tear gas outside the Legislative Council in Hong Kong, during the early hours of Tuesday, July 2, 2019. Hundreds of protesters in Hong Kong swarmed into the legislature's main building Monday night, tearing down portraits of legislative leaders and spray-painting pro-democracy slogans on the walls of the main chamber as frustration over a lack of response from the administration to opposition demands boiled over. (Jeff Cheng/HK01 via AP) HONG KONG OUT, NO ARCHIVE

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong’s legislative building was heavily damaged by protesters who broke in Monday night. Their demands include the withdrawal of an extradition bill and the resignation of Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam. Their actions at the Legislative Council, known as LegCo, brought widespread condemnation — and pleas for understanding. The following comments have been edited for clarity and space:

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ANDREW LEUNG, president of the Legislative Council

“As LegCo president, I strongly condemn the serious violence that undermines the core values of Hong Kong. The repair and rebuilding of the LegCo complex is expected to take a long time. The remaining two LegCo meetings before the summer recess in mid-July cannot be held as scheduled. I believe many Hong Kong people will share the same feeling with me that we are saddened by what happened last night. For the best interest of Hong Kong, I hope that all of us could find the way forward rationally.”

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JOSHUA WONG, student activist

“I understand people in Hong Kong and around the world might not 100% agree or disagree with all of the behavior of the protesters. But when more than 25% of the population, more than 2 million people join the rally, but all of the requests have been ignored ... is there any way out? Yesterday evening, I was also being shot by tear gas. When those youngsters or high school students, even younger than me, expect to pay the price of a 10-year jail sentence for storming into the Legislative Council, is it still good timing to blame those youngsters that sacrificed to show their anger? Carrie Lam is not capable as leader anymore and now is the time to withdraw the bill, not to prosecute the activists, set up an investigation commission and to enjoy her retirement life. Resign immediately.”

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GENG SHUANG, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman

“The violent attacks on the Legislative Council complex and the intentional damage to its facilities in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region are serious illegal acts that trample on the rule of law and endanger social order. We strongly condemn it. The central government strongly supports the Hong Kong SAR government and the police to handle the incident in accordance with law.”

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CLAUDIA MO, Legislative Council member

“We don’t condone violence, but we hope everyone not just in Hong Kong but the whole wide world will try to understand the Hong Kong young, the desperation exhibited behind the so-called violent acts.”

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KURT TONG, U.S. consul general to Hong Kong and Macao

“The view of the United States is that the right for freedom of expression is both most effective and most proper when it is exercised peacefully. And so, the United States, like many people, was disappointed to see the violence and vandalism yesterday in the Legislative Council.”

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AMERICAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN HONG KONG

“AmCham Hong Kong supports the right of Hong Kong people to peacefully express their concerns. However, we join Chief Executive Carrie Lam in condemning the violence displayed last evening by demonstrators in their occupation of LegCo. The Chamber does not condone violent acts causing physical harm and destruction of property as legitimate means to achieve objectives for the greater good in a lawful society. We believe the violent protests of recent days do not reflect how the majority of people in this dynamic and advanced economy would choose to be heard.”

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