Violence is harmful, won't solve divisions: Hong Kong government

Anti-government protesters protecting themselves with umbrellas during a demonstration near the Central Government Complex in Hong Kong, on Sept 15, 2019.
Anti-government protesters protecting themselves with umbrellas during a demonstration near the Central Government Complex in Hong Kong, on Sept 15, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (AP) - Hong Kong's government reiterated that violence is not the solution after an unapproved march descended into chaos on Sunday (Sept 15), with police firing tear gas and water cannons after demonstrators lobbed Molotov cocktails at government buildings, blocked traffic and set fires.

The government said in a statement late on Sunday that violence would only harm the community and that it was sincerely trying to solve problems.

"Some radical protesters threw petrol bombs and bricks at the government headquarters, and burned a national flag, challenging national sovereignty. The use of violence is not the way to resolve problems and the government is displaying great sincerity in setting up a dialogue platform to communicate with citizens," the statement read.

It was Hong Kong's 15th straight weekend of social unrest. Anti-government protests have taken place since June and increasingly have been marked by violence and clashes with police. They were sparked by an extradition Bill many Hong Kong residents see as an example of the territory's autonomy being eroded under Chinese rule.

While Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the Bill will be withdrawn, the protesters want their other demands for greater democracy and police accountability met, and some of them defend violence as necessary since peaceful demonstrations have not effected change.

At least eight people were wounded, with three seriously, during clashes across the city on Sunday.

Railway operator, the MTR Corp, also expressed anger and condemnation over the actions of protesters. It said protesters threw petrol bombs - for the first time - into Wan Chai and Causeway Bay stations. Tin Hau and Admiralty stations were vandalised.

Rail services resumed on Monday morning.