Protests, looting erupt in Minneapolis over racially charged killing by police

By Eric Miller and Nicholas Pfosi

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) – Protesters clashed with riot police firing tear gas for a second night in Minneapolis on Wednesday in an outpouring of rage over the death of a black man seen in a widely circulated video gasping for breath as a white officer knelt on his neck.

The video, taken by an onlooker to Monday night’s fatal encounter between police and George Floyd, 46, showed him lying face down and handcuffed, groaning for help and repeatedly saying, “please, I can’t breathe,” before growing motionless.

A man is injured after being hit in the head by an object at a protest near the Minneapolis Police third precinct after a white police officer was caught on a bystander’s video pressing his knee into the neck of African-American man George Floyd, who later died at a hospital, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. May 27, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Miller

The second day of demonstrations, accompanied by looting and vandalism, began hours after Mayor Jacob Frey urged prosecutors to file criminal charges against the white policeman shown pinning Floyd to the street.

Floyd, who was unarmed and reportedly suspected of trying to pass counterfeit bills at a corner eatery, was taken by ambulance from the scene of his arrest and pronounced dead the same night at a hospital.

The policeman shown kneeling on Floyd’s neck and three fellow officers involved were dismissed from the police department on Tuesday as the FBI opened an investigation.

Hundreds of protesters, many with faces covered, thronged streets around the Third Precinct police station late on Wednesday, about half a mile from where Floyd had been arrested, chanting, “No justice, no peace” and “I can’t breathe.”

The crowd grew to thousands as night fell and the protest turned into a standoff outside the station, where police in riot gear formed barricade lines while protesters taunted them from behind makeshift barricades of their own.

Police, some taking positions on rooftops, used tear gas, plastic bullets and concussion grenades to keep the crowds at bay. Protesters pelted police with rocks and other projectiles. Some threw tear gas canisters back at the officers.

Television news images from a helicopter over the area showed dozens of people looting a Target store, running out with clothing and shopping carts full of merchandise.

Fires erupted after dark at several businesses, including an auto parts store. Eyewitnesses said the blazes appeared to be the work of arsonists. Media said a smaller, peaceful protest was held outside the home of one of the police officers.

People gather near the Minneapolis Police third precinct after a white police officer was caught on a bystander’s video pressing his knee into the neck of African-American man George Floyd, who later died at a hospital, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. May 27, 2020. REUTERS/Eric Miller


Outrage at Floyd’s death also triggered a rally in his name against police brutality by hundreds of people in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday afternoon.

That demonstration turned violent after a crowd marched onto a nearby freeway and blocked traffic, then attacked two California Highway Patrol cruisers, smashing their windows, local media reported. One protester who clung to the hood of a patrol car fell to the pavement as it sped away, and was treated at the scene by paramedics, news footage of the incident showed.

The video of Monday’s deadly confrontation between Minneapolis police and Floyd led Mayor Frey to call on Wednesday for Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman “to charge the arresting officer in this case”.

The city identified the four officers as Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, Tou Thao and J Alexander Kueng. It did not say who knelt on Floyd’s neck, and gave no further information.

The local police union said the officers were cooperating with investigators and cautioned against a “rush to judgment”.

A protester vandalizes an O’Reilly’s near the Minneapolis Police third precinct, where demonstrators gathered after a white police officer was caught on a bystander’s video pressing his knee into the neck of African-American man George Floyd, who later died at a hospital, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. May 27, 2020. REUTERS/Nicholas Pfosi

“We must review all video. We must wait for the medical examiner’s report,” the union statement said.

The county attorney’s office said it would decide how to proceed once investigators had concluded their inquiries.

The case was reminiscent of the 2014 killing of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man in New York City who died after being put in a banned police chokehold.

Garner’s dying words, “I can’t breathe,” became a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement calling attention to a wave of killings of African-Americans by police using unjustified lethal force.

(Reporting by Eric Miller and Nicholas Pfosi in Minneapolis; Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago and Steve Gorman and Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Stephen Coates, Clarence Fernandez and Gareth Jones)

Hong Kong police arrest 300 as thousands protest over security laws

By Sarah Wu and Clare Jim

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Police in Hong Kong fired pepper pellets and made 300 arrests as thousands of people took to the streets on Wednesday to voice anger over national security legislation proposed by China, that has raised international alarm over freedoms in the city.

In the heart of the financial district, riot police fired pepper pellets to disperse a crowd, and elsewhere in the city police rounded up groups of dozens of suspected protesters, making them sit on sidewalks before searching their belongings.

A heavy police presence around the Legislative Council deterred protesters planning to disrupt the debate of a bill that would criminalize disrespect of the Chinese national anthem. The bill is expected to become law next month.

Angry over perceived threats to the semi-autonomous city’s freedoms, people of all ages took to the streets, some dressed in black, some wearing office clothes or school uniforms and some hiding their faces beneath open umbrellas in scenes reminiscent of the unrest that shook Hong Kong last year.

“Although you’re afraid inside your heart, you need to speak out,” said Chang, 29, a clerk and protester dressed in black with a helmet respirator and goggles in her backpack.

Many shops, banks and offices closed early.

The latest protests follow the Chinese government’s proposal for national security legislation aimed at tackling secession, subversion and terrorism in Hong Kong.

The planned laws could see Chinese intelligence agencies set up bases in Hong Kong.

The proposal, unveiled in Beijing last week, triggered the first big street unrest in Hong Kong in months on Sunday, with police firing tear gas and water cannon to disperse protesters.

The United States, Britain, the European Union and others have expressed concern about the legislation, widely seen as a possible turning point for China’s freest city and one of the world’s main financial hubs.

But Chinese authorities and the Beijing-backed government in Hong Kong say there is no threat to the city’s high degree of autonomy and the new security law would be tightly focused.

“It’s for the long-term stability of Hong Kong and China, it won’t affect the freedom of assembly and speech and it won’t affect the city’s status as a financial center,” Hong Kong Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung told reporters.

U.S. President Donald Trump, already at odds with Beijing over trade and the novel coronavirus pandemic, said on Tuesday the United States would this week announce a strong response to the planned legislation.

China responded by saying it would take necessary countermeasures to any foreign interference.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen pledged humanitarian relief for any Hong Kong people fleeing to the self-ruled island.

Asian shares slipped over the rising tension between the United States and China. Hong Kong’s bourse < led declines with a 0.46% drop.


Protesters in a downtown shopping mall chanted “Liberate Hong Kong! Revolution of our times” and “Hong Kong independence, the only way out”.

One protester was seen with a placard reading “one country, two systems is a lie”, referring to a political system put in place at Britain’s 1997 handover of the city to China, which is meant to guarantee Hong Kong’s freedoms until at least 2047.

“I’m scared … if you don’t come out today, you’ll never be able to come out. This is legislation that directly affects us,” said Ryan Tsang, a hotel manager.

As the protests in the financial district died down, hundreds of people gathered in the working-class Mong Kok district on the Kowloon peninsula, where protests flared repeatedly last year. Marchers there briefly blocked roads before being chased away by police.

About 300 people were arrested, most for illegal assembly, in three districts, police said.

In an interview with Chinese state broadcaster CCTV, Hong Kong Security Secretary John Lee said police had adopted new tactics to control situations as soon as “something happens”.

(Reporting by Sarah Wu, Scott Murdoch, Jessie Pang, Clare Jim, Pak Yiu, Joyce Zhou, Twinnie Siu, Donny Kwok; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree, Michael Perry and Robert Birsel, Marius Zaharia; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Stephen Coates & Simon Cameron-Moore)

Hong Kong riot police confront protesters a day after violent clashes

Hong Kong riot police confront protesters a day after violent clashes
By Sarah Wu and Twinnie Siu

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hundreds of Hong Kong riot police confronted pro-democracy demonstrators on Monday night as they gathered to commemorate the three-month anniversary of an assault by more than 100 men on protesters, commuters and journalists.

The stand-off in the Yuen Long district, in which there were no immediate clashes or scuffles, followed violence on Sunday when tens of thousands marched through the Kowloon district and hardcore activists threw petrol bombs at police, torched entrances to metro stations and trashed hundreds of shops.

Under a policy that deems marches illegal unless they have a police permit, police were blocking the way to around 100 protesters trying to reach the Yuen Long metro station in Hong Kong’s northwest, and closed the station five hours early.

Protesters are angry that police did not act quickly enough to protect pro-democracy activists and commuters from the July 21 gang assault on them in the Hong Kong metro, and at what they say is a slow investigation into the incident.

Police have arrested 34 people and charged six.

At the time some believed the men had been hired to attack the group. Some politicians and activists have linked Hong Kong’s shadowy network of triad criminal gangs to political intimidation and violence in recent years, sometimes against pro-democracy activists and critics of Beijing.

Riot police marched down the street ordering protesters to disperse on Monday, warning they would fire tear gas. At one stage they rushed protesters and detained one person.

At one stage scuffles broke out between pro-Beijing supporters and protesters.


Yim, a 42-year-old social worker, said he was in Yuen Long station on the night of the attack, adding it was important to continue to protest against such mob violence.

“If they really wanted to catch those attackers they could,” he said. “There were many people filmed that night but they’ve only arrested six people so far … we want an independent investigation and justice for this attack. The police are selectively enforcing the law.”

Hong Kong has been battered by more than 5 months of anti-government protests, and despite two weeks of calm, Sunday’s mass rally showed there was no end in sight to the unrest.

Embattled Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam has rejected the demands of protesters and backed police using violence against them. Many say police have used excessive force against them, firing thousands of rounds of tear gas and hundreds of rubber bullets against brick- and petrol bomb-throwing activists.

Since the protests escalated in June, more than 2,600 people have been arrested, many under 18 years of age, while two people have been shot and many more injured.

Many people in Hong Kong are angry at what they see as mainland China’s attempts to limit the freedoms the city enjoys under the “one country, two systems” principle enshrined in its handover from Britain in 1997.

The protests pose the biggest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he took power. Beijing has denied eroding Hong Kong’s freedoms and Xi has vowed to crush any attempt to split China.

Protesters are demanding universal suffrage, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, amnesty for those charged, an end to labeling protesters as rioters, and the formal withdrawal of a China extradition bill which ignited the unrest.

(Reporting by Sarah Wu and Twinnie Siu; Writing by Farah Master and Michael Perry; Editing by Stephen Coates and Mark Heinrich)

Hong Kong police shoot teen as protest violence escalates

By Jessie Pang and Donny Kwok

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong police shot a teenager on Tuesday, the first time a protester has been hit by live ammunition during four months of demonstrations, as the Chinese-ruled city was rocked by widespread unrest on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic.

In cat-and-mouse clashes that spread from the upmarket district of Causeway Bay to the Admiralty area of government offices on Hong Kong island, police were pelted with petrol bombs and responded by firing tear gas and water cannon.

Police said an officer shot an 18-year-old man in the shoulder in the Tsuen Wan area of the New Territories with a live round. Protesters have previously been hit before with bean bags rounds and rubber bullets and officers have fired live rounds in the air.

Verified video footage of the incident widely shared on social media shows a chaotic melee with riot police battling protesters wielding metal bars, before an officer fires a shot at close range.

As the wounded man steps back and falls, someone tries to help, but another policeman tackles him to the ground.

“A large group of rioters was attacking police officers in Tsuen Wan,” police said in a statement. “Police officers warned them, but they were still attacking police. A police officer’s life was seriously endangered. In order to save his and other officers’ lives, they fired at the attacker.”

There were no immediate details on the wounded man’s condition.

Former colonial ruler Britain said the use of live ammunition was disproportionate.

Nearly four months of street clashes and demonstrations have plunged the former British colony into its biggest political crisis in decades and pose the most serious popular challenge to President Xi Jinping since he came to power.

Protesters had vowed to seize the opportunity on China’s National Day to propel their calls for greater democracy onto the international stage, hijacking an occasion Beijing sees as an opportunity to showcase China’s economic and military progress.

“I’m not young, but if we don’t march now, we’ll never have the chance to speak again, it’s as simple as that,” said one marcher near Causeway Bay, a 42-year-old woman with her own logistics company who identified herself as Li.


Thousands of black-clad protesters, some wearing Guy Fawkes masks, marched on Admiralty, defying a police ban. Violence escalated across the harbor to Kowloon and beyond to the New Territories. Police vans chasing down pro-democracy protesters in the key drag of Hennessy Road.

Police said 31 people had been wounded across the territory, two critically, without giving details.

Protester Jerry, 26, dressed in black and sitting amid the wreckage in Causeway Bay, denounced the police.

“The Hong Kong police, they’ve just lost their minds,” he told Reuters. “They just follow orders. They say it’s to protect lives, but they see the people as objects.”

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab criticized the use of live ammunition.

“Whilst there is no excuse for violence, the use of live ammunition is disproportionate, and only risks inflaming the situation,” Raab said in a statement.

In the Admiralty area, police fired water cannon and volley after volley of tear gas to disperse protesters throwing Molotov cocktails outside central government offices and ordered the evacuation of the Legislative Council building next door.

Petrol bombs were also thrown at MTR metro stations, including at Causeway Bay and Admiralty and Sham Shui Po in the New Territories. Many stations were closed to stop protesters moving around. Shutting stations has made them a common target for attack during the weeks of unrest.

Chinese banks and Chinese-backed businesses were targeted with petrol bombs and anti-China graffiti. Local broadcaster RTHK said it was pulling all its reporters away from the violence after one was hit on the head.


Hong Kong has been tense for weeks, with protests often turning violent, as authorities tried to avoid activists spoiling Beijing’s birthday parade.

Hundreds of officials and members of Hong Kong’s pro-establishment elite began the day with a flag-raising ceremony and National Day reception at the Convention and Exhibition Centre, held early and moved behind closed doors. Roads to the center were closed and tightly policed.

Hong Kong had benefited from China’s support under the “one country, two systems” policy, Acting Chief Executive Matthew Cheng told the assembly, referring to guarantees of political freedoms after the city’s handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997.

But he said escalating violence was disrupting social order and hurting the economy.

The government of embattled leader Carrie Lam has already canceled an annual Oct. 1 fireworks display over the city’s Victoria Harbour, citing public safety.

Lam, who was trapped in a stadium for hours last week after attending the “open dialogue”, left for Beijing on Monday to celebrate China’s birthday on the mainland.

In contrast to events in Hong Kong, Beijing’s carefully choreographed anniversary festivities included troops marching through part of Tiananmen Square with new missiles and floats celebrating the country’s technological prowess.

Lam was shown on television smiling as a float celebrating Hong Kong went past as she sat with Chinese officials.

The Communist Party leadership is determined to project an image of national strength and unity in the face of challenges including Hong Kong’s unrest.

“On our journey forward, we must uphold the principles of peaceful reunification and one country, two systems; maintain lasting prosperity and stability in Hong Kong and Macau … and continue to strive for the motherland’s complete reunification,” Xi said in a nationally televised speech in Beijing.

Hong Kong protesters are angry about what they see as creeping Chinese interference in the Asian financial center.

China dismisses the accusation and has accused foreign governments, including the United States and Britain, of fanning anti-China sentiment.

(Reporting by Jessie Pang and Donny Kwok, Additional reporting by Sharon Tam, Felix Tam, Poppy McPherson, Anne Marie Roantree, Farah Master, James Pomfret, Twinnie Siu, Alun John, David Kirton, Jennifer Hughes and Keith Zhai; Writing by Clara Ferreira Marques, Bill Rigby and Nick Macfie; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Alex Richardson)

From ‘Asia’s finest’ to ‘black dogs’: Hong Kong police under pressure

FILE PHOTO: Riot police ask anti-extradition bill protesters to leave in front of public housing after a march at Sha Tin District of East New Territories, Hong Kong, China July 14, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

By Greg Torode and Anne Marie Roantree

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong’s vaunted police force is facing a crisis of confidence and leadership amid the city’s worsening political tensions, according to serving and retired officers, politicians and security analysts.

The force is struggling to cope amid haphazard decision-making, worsening morale and anger among rank-and-file officers that they are taking the public heat for government unpopularity, they warned.

“The lower ranks are feeling lost and confused,” said one retired officer who remains in close touch with former colleagues. “There is clearly a lack of leadership at key moments and a sense that there is not enough support from the government and that is having an impact on commanders.”

A police statement to Reuters did not respond directly to questions about morale and concerns among officers, but said: “violent protests seriously undermine the rule of law”.

“The police, with the mission of upholding the law of Hong Kong, would definitely stand at the forefront to maintain public safety and order,” the statement said.

As the street-level face of the government during protests, police say they are easy targets for public rage, but protesters say they have used excessive force at times and their surveillance tactics are heavy-handed.

Britain handed the global financial hub back to Chinese rule in 1997 with guarantees that its wide freedoms and autonomy, including the right to protest, would be maintained.

Huge street protests last month against a bill to allow people to be sent for trial in mainland China have evolved into almost daily demonstrations.

Though the city’s government insists the bill is now effectively dead, activists continue to demand that it is formally scrapped, and are also calling for independent inquiries into police actions, democratic reforms and the resignation of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam.


Two initially peaceful protests at the weekend degenerated into running skirmishes between baton-wielding riot police and activists, one in a suburban shopping mall crowded with Sunday shoppers.

The fights followed larger outbreaks of violence between police and protesters in central Hong Kong last month, with police forcing back activists with tear gas, rubber bullets and bean-bag rounds.

Thousands surrounded the police’s headquarters a few days later, trapping senior force brass and junior officers inside the building for several hours.

Another senior serving officer said the fact that there was no apparent end in sight to Hong Kong’s political tensions was further fuelling uncertainty across the 30,000-strong force.

“We are in uncharted waters….no one knows where this is going,” he said.

A police union covering some 20,000 junior officers wrote to force chiefs this week to seek fresh guarantees their safety and mental health would be protected. Officers should not be deployed to dangerous situations unless management had “confidence in the conditions, including tactics and equipment”, the letter said.

Beyond a small core of activists who are increasingly prepared to fight police with umbrellas, hard hats and street furniture, some officers are expressing shock at the verbal abuse they are facing during even small, peaceful gatherings.

In recent days, Reuters witnesses have seen groups of police routinely sworn at and cursed by commuters, with some calling them “black dogs”. Others have chased away plainclothes officers taking photographs.

A Wikipedia page on the force was apparently hacked this week, with the phrase “black dogs” inserted.

It marks a swift change, with Hong Kong police long priding themselves on being “Asia’s finest” given the city’s international reputation for public safety and order, and strong working relationships with foreign police agencies.

After battling leftist rioting in the 1960s and institutionalized corruption in the 1970s, force chiefs worked hard to improve training and boost its reputation for professionalism.

Police stand guard at Hong Kong's tourism district Tsim Sha Tsui during anti-extradition bill protest, China July 7, 2019. Picture taken July 7, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Police stand guard at Hong Kong’s tourism district Tsim Sha Tsui during anti-extradition bill protest, China July 7, 2019. Picture taken July 7, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu


Veteran Democratic Party lawmaker James To said he was deeply concerned at the worsening tensions between the police and the public.

To said he was aware that many police felt angry they were “shouldering the blame” for the incompetence of the government. He was worried too that public anger towards law enforcers had reached a level never before seen in the city.

“This a very worrying turn of events and if the government cannot solve things politically, then they should give clear guidance to the police,” said To.

Steve Vickers, a former commander of the Royal Hong Kong Police Criminal Intelligence Bureau who now runs a risk consultancy, said it was critical that force morale be sustained and improved “so that they can have confidence that they will not be ‘thrown under a bus’ by Carrie Lam’s administration should they take necessary firmer action.”

He said the government should allow the police to use tear-gas more freely so they can disperse violent groups more safely than using baton charges. “Batons and hand-to-hand fighting always results in serious injury,” he said.

Lam’s office did not immediately respond to Reuters’ questions.

If tensions continued to worsen and Hong Kong police struggled to maintain order, some foreign security analysts believed Beijing could be tempted to deploy the mainland’s paramilitary People’s Armed Police to Hong Kong.

While neither governments had any appetite to deploy locally-based Chinese People’s Liberation Army troops, the PAP could be an interim measure, they said.

The PAP is a dedicated anti-riot force that is now under the sole command of China’s Central Military Commission and has units based across the border from Hong Kong in Shenzhen, according to Chinese media reports.

The Chinese Defence Ministry did not respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

To, the lawmaker, said he believed deploying the PAP would still be a too-dramatic move and would not be acceptable to either the Hong Kong police or the public.

(Reporting By Greg Torode and Anne Marie Roantree in Hong Kong; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing; Editing by Alex Richardson)

Fresh protests hit Hong Kong as activists seek voice at G20

Demonstrators protest outside police headquarters, demanding Hong Kong's leaders to step down and withdraw the extradition bill, in Hong Kong, China June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Si

By Jessie Pang and Vivam Tong

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Protesters in Hong Kong blocked roads and forced workers to leave the justice secretary’s offices on Thursday in the latest unrest to rock the city over an extradition bill that has now been suspended.

Millions have thronged the streets in the past three weeks to demand that the bill, which would allow criminal suspects to be sent to mainland China for trial in courts controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, be scrapped altogether.

“You know what everybody has deep in their hearts – is that this is about our future and it’s very very personal,” said 53-year-old Brian Kern, who was attending the protests.

In sweltering heat of 32 degrees C (89.6F), some protesters chanted, “Withdraw evil law, release martyrs…Teresa Cheng, come out,” referring to the justice secretary. Others shouted, “Condemn excessive force by police and release protesters.”

Police formed a cordon to block the demonstrators and one officer held a banner warning them away. Minor scuffles broke out between pro-democracy group Demosisto and officers.

“Fight for Justice”, “Free Hong Kong,” and “Democracy Now” were some of the demands emblazoned on protest banners.

Police chief Stephen Lo warned of consequences for outbreaks of violence and condemned what he said was an environment of hostility making his officers’ task difficult.


In the early hours, riot police wielding batons and shields chased dozens of protesters as they broke up a siege of police headquarters. By nightfall on Thursday, only around 200 protesters remained. Black-clad and masked, they sat peacefully outside government headquarters.

The demonstrators have seized on this week’s G20 summit of world leaders in Japan to appeal for Hong Kong’s plight to be put on the agenda, a move certain to rile Beijing, which has vowed not to tolerate such discussion.

“We know that the G20 is coming. We want to grasp this opportunity to voice for ourselves,” said Jack Cool Tsang, 30, a theater technician who took a day off work to protest.

Images of police firing rubber bullets and tear gas beneath gleaming skyscrapers this month near the heart of the financial center grabbed global headlines and drew condemnation from international rights groups and protest organizers.

Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam, who has kept a low profile since her latest public apology over a week ago, bowed to public pressure and suspended the bill a day after the violent protests but stopped short of canceling the measure outright and rejected repeated calls to step down.

Opponents of the extradition bill fear being placed at the mercy of a justice system rights group say is plagued by torture, forced confessions and arbitrary detentions.

The demonstrations, which pose the greatest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he took power in 2012, have repeatedly forced the temporary closure of government offices, blocked major roads and caused massive disruptions.

Since Hong Kong returned to Chinese rule in 1997, it has been governed under a “one country, two systems” formula that allows freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China, including the liberty to protest and an independent judiciary.

But many accuse China of increased meddling over the years, by obstructing democratic reform, interfering with elections, suppressing young activists, as well as being behind the disappearance of five Hong Kong-based booksellers who specialized in works critical of Chinese leaders.


ay, a Hong Kong government statement said Lam had met senior police officers to express thanks for their dedication during the protests and gave them her full support to maintain law and order in the city.

“She said she understands that members of the force and their family members have been put under pressure and that a small number of people even provoked the police intentionally, which is not acceptable,” the statement said.

Lam also met representatives in the education and religious sectors, senior civil servants as well as foreign consuls to exchange views on the “current social situation,” it said.

(Reporting By Vimvam Tong, Jessie Pang, Delfina Wentzel, Donny Kwok and Noah Sin; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree and Farah Master; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Mark Hienrich)