Thousands gather in Hong Kong for 11th weekend as Beijing moves armed vehicles to border

  • Video report by ITV News Asia Correspondent Debi Edward

Hongkongers have joined together for another round of protests, marking the start of the 11th weekend of demonstrations.

On Friday evening, thousands of people gathered in Chater Garden - a small park in Central - to make their voices heard.

But this protest differed from others in more recent days; state sanctioned and peaceful.

It comes as mainland China's state-backed media has ramped up its rhetoric about the former British colony.

Where outlets were initially subdued in their reporting, recent days have seen Beijing's mouthpieces push images of violent protesters, sowing anti-democracy movement sentiment.

On Friday, a senior member of the Special Administrative Region's leadership had heeded a warning to protesters: "Accept we are part of China."

It comes after China warned protesters it is "fully prepared for the worst".

  • Protesters warned violence is not a solution to demands

One of Hong Kong's leading political figures, Ronny Tong, has told ITV News "there is no point to resort to violence" in the protests.

He added the only way to reach a democratic resolution is to "sit down and work out a solution - there are no alternatives".

Mr Tong, who is a member of the Executive Council of Hong Kong, added: "I don't see how we can get to democracy if young people are in the streets waving United States flags and UK flags, and calling for liberation of Hong Kong.

"That is going the opposite direction."

Police have routinely fired tear gas at protesters in Hong Kong. Credit: AP

The politician toed Beijing's line as he discussed the direction in which Hong Kong could move politically.

He said: "I keep telling everybody that one country, two systems is the best form of government that Hong Kong can have. I can't really see any other good alternative.

"Under the one country, two systems; you have to accept the fact that we are part of China."

Local police have faced international criticism for their handling of the demonstrations and riots.

It comes after thousands of rounds of tear gas were fired and a protester lost an eye after being shot my armed officers.

"Do you think that if something happened in the UK," Mr Tong said, "that tear gas wouldn't be used? Come on, be realistic."

He added using the spray is the only non-lethal force available to law enforcement to maintain the peace in the global financial hub.

  • Beijing continues to move armed forces to border region

Beijing has moved a number of armored vehicles to within striking distance of Hong Kong.

The mainland government has placed a number of camouflage trucks at a sports centre in Shenzen, a city on the border with the Special Administrative Region but still under the full control of the Communist leadership.

Whilst at the moment Beijing hasn't announced any plans to send the People's Liberation Army into Hong Kong, under the constitution governing the city it is allowed to do so.

China's ambassador said earlier this week Beijing will not "sit on its hands and watch".

  • Airlines bosses forced to stand down amid protest handling

Cathay Pacific has found itself caught in the middle of the dispute. Credit: AP

Both the CEO and Chairman of Cathay Pacific, Hong Kong's flag carrier, have been forced to stand down over the company's handling of the demonstrations.

Rupert Hogg and John Slosar had previously led a three-year turnaround of the business, transforming its fortunes.

Despite the commercial success, mass demonstrations and flight cancellations at the city's air hub led to a dent in its reputation.

The carrier said in a statement on its website: "Recent events have called into question Cathay Pacific’s commitment to flight safety and security and put our reputation and brand under pressure."

The mainland government previously demanded Cathay Pacific bar workers who supported the uprisings from working on flights ti China.

The management shakeup comes amid renewed pressure from Beijing on Hong Kong institutions as it attempts to pressurise them into acting as it wishes.