Violent clashes intensify in Hong Kong as both sides blame the other

  • Video report by ITV News Asia Correspondent Debi Edward

Both sides of Hong Kong’s political divide have claimed their opponents bear responsibility after violence during anti-government protests over the weekend.

Pro-government members of the Legislative Council condemned the acts of protesters who blocked streets, threw petrol bombs and assaulted police officers.

“You can say a lot of different opinions to the government, but violence is different. If we can accept violence, our city will be ruined,” Starry Lee, chairwoman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said.

Weekend protests saw riot police draw their weapons on protesters and use water canons to try to break up the demonstrations.

Demonstrators damage a restaurant run by a pro-China owner. Credit: Kin Cheung/AP

Pro-democracy legislators countered that the city’s government and the police needed to take responsibility – the former for introducing the extradition legislation that sparked the protests and the latter for “selective enforcement of the law targeting government opponents”.

Kwok Ka-ki, a member of the Civic Party, blamed Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam for the escalation.

He called her creation of a platform for dialogue a delaying tactic rather than an attempt to resolve the conflict.

“She is the one who should shoulder all the responsibility, and now she is trying to get away from all the responsibility and shifting the focus to the so-called platform,” Mr Kwok said.

Riot police fire rubber bullets into crowds of demonstrators. Credit: AP

A hardline contingent took over the streets on the weekend following peaceful pro-democracy marches, arguing that peaceful protest is not enough to get the government to respond.

Police used tear gas to clear the streets and arrested more than 50 people.

The movement has five demands including democratic elections and an independent inquiry into what it alleges is police violence in breaking up demonstrations.