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Hong Kong Crisis Escalates With Citywide Strike, Spreading Clashes



HONG KONG-A city-wide strike and three-days of violent clashes with the city in a political crisis, as Hong Kong's leader calls the situation dangerous and unstable but no compromises to abate the unrest.

Dozens of flights into and out of the city were canceled through the day while commuters were stranded by delays to subway services. In many stations, protesters blocked train doors from closing. Thousands of demonstrators began gathering in the afternoon across different districts.

At a temple popular among local residents who made wishes, protesters chanted, "Restore Hong Kong. Revolution of our time. "Thousands of people were gathered, overflowing into a nearby mall. Many took shade umbrellas and yellow signs reading, "No extradition to China.

Protesters threw umbrellas at police who disperse the crowds. Over the weekend, the working-class neighborhood was the site of clashes during which enraged residents went into the streets in flip-flops and shorts to drive out police.

Judy Tseng, 35, who lives in the neighborhood, said she had not attended any of the previous rallies in the past nine weeks a day off and skipped a big work conference to support the citywide strike.

Earlier in the day, Mrs. Lam said that Hong Kong was becoming dangerous and unstable, condemning violent protests in her first public comments in two weeks on the political turmoil engulfing the city.

Mrs. Lam is "full of read and shameless," said Ms. Tseng, who works for an insurance company. "One country, two systems" is the arrangement under which Hong Kong is granted more freedoms than mainland China.

In her remarks, Mrs. Lam did not accede to any of the protesters' demands, setting the stage for more clashes.

Hong Kong has been gripped by unrest since early June, and authorities are struggling to contain it. As protests continue through a ninth weekend, demonstrations became more violent and spread geographically. Clashes between protesters and police are frequent, with police use of tear gas common. Bystanders-residents and tourists alike have been caught in the middle.

Over the weekend, protesters blocked the city's busiest tunnel. In some districts, people trying to get home were tear-gassed or pinned down by police.

Mrs. Lam's refusal to address protester's demands while putting the blame on a small group of radicals has become a rallying point for protesters. What do you see as legitimate demands? Credibility to the more hard-core elements of the movement. That group, numbering in the thousands, has said it would continue to wreak havoc if no compromise can be reached.

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam said the city was dangerous and unstable.


Photo:
            

        kim kyung-hoon / Reuters
          

Ching Kwan Lee, a professor of sociology at the University of Chicago, said: "You are making a grave mistake California, Los Angeles.

"They are in denial about Hong Kong people's frustration and determination to fight and defend their way of life, freedom and civil liberty," said Ms. Lee.

Beijing is starting to signal impatience with the Hong Kong government's inability to quell the protests, warning that the central government intends to do so not sit idly by.

A propaganda bill is launched by China's government in recent days. The Chinese Communist Party's flagship People's Daily denounced the Hong Kong protesters in a front-page commentary.

The Chinese Communist Party's flagship People's Daily denounced the Hong Kong protesters in a front page commentary Monday

The Protests Were Sparked by an Extradition Bill That Would Allow Suspects to Become a China for Trial. They have become increasingly aggressive, underpinned by the belief that they have lost their lives in the semiautonomous Chinese city.

The protesters have continued to come out in bulk with five major demands. Mrs. Lam's administration has come under pressure from a broad spectrum of both pro-government and opposition voices-to-comproimise on two that would defuse immediate effect from society: fully withdraw the extradition bill and establish an independent inquiry into how the police have handled the demonstrations.

A foundation run by Anson Chan, a former no. 2 Official in the city who served under both British and Chinese rules, commissioned a public-opinion poll to survey 1,000 Hong Kong residents. 80% said it would be established.

"We just want to get the commission to do the right thing," said Mrs. Chan, who has recently become a vocal critic of how the government is run.

A protester blocks the closing doors of Fortress Hill Station in Hong Kong on Monday.


Photo:
            

        anthony wallace / Agence France-Presse / Getty Images
          

On Monday, Mrs. Lam said the government has already declared the bill dead and some of the other demands, as well as providing amnesty for arrested protesters, were unacceptable in a lawful society. The government wants to be resolute in maintaining law and order, she said.

"Our society has become dangerous and unstable," Mrs. Lam said.

Addressing some protesters' demand that they resign, Mrs. Lam said she would continue to face the problems created by the bill.

Tobias Leung, the organizer of a group called Shatin Commons, said that "I do not think this is the right time to make a decision." rally in the city's largest residential district, said before the strike that the event would be historic and work as a foundation for the city's pro-democracy movement.

"But Carrie Lam is the first one to join the strike. She has not done so much as condemn the protesters, "Mr. Leung said.

Write to Natasha Khan at [email protected] and Joyu Wang at [email protected]

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