Violent protests must end; all in HK must defend rule of law

As the past few weeks have shown, the protest movement has twin personalities, like a Jekyll and Hyde character. One is peaceful and non-violent, content to make its points by legitimate means. The other, however, though smaller, is prepared to use violence and extra-legal means to further its objectives. The extent to which the latter depends on the former is not completely clear, though the armed wing undoubtedly feeds off ordinary protesters. Indeed, when the marchers passed within hailing distance of the Legislative Council building on Monday, messages of support were shouted to the vandals trying to smash their way in.

Although it is tempting to describe the armed wing as a "mob", this may be inaccurate as it implies mindlessness and even spontaneity.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2019, with the headline 'Violent protests must end; all in HK must defend rule of law'. Subscribe