1013 GMT February 21, 2020
However, Chief Executive Carrie Lam offered no concessions to the protest movement and a key organizer of the mass rallies dismissed her plan to immediately set up a “communication platform,” underlining the challenge in resolving the semiautonomous Chinese city’s political crisis, AP reported.
The movement held a massive but peaceful rally on Sunday after earlier protests had been marked by violence. The government has conditioned dialogue on the leaderless protest movement remaining peaceful.
The protests began against a proposed extradition law to China but morphed into a pro-democracy movement sparking the city's biggest political crisis in decades.
Lam didn’t say that the communication platform will be used to specifically contact protesters. It will be used for “open and direct” dialogue with people from all walks of life, including people who have attended peaceful rallies, she told reporters, while giving few specifics on how it would work.
“Our goal is to work hard to resolve differences and conflicts, to understand each other through communication and to walk out of this social deadlock together,” Lam said.
Her comments fell short of the protesters’ five demands, which include genuine democracy and an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality.
The protesters complain that police have contributed to the violence by responding to their aggressive tactics with tear gas and rubber bullets.
Members of the Civil Human Rights Front rejected her plan, calling it a trap that’s aimed at wasting time.
The group’s vice-convener, Wong Yik-mo, said Lam is “not responding at all” to the protest movement’s demands.