World

Let’s talk, but no umbrellas please: Lam to protesters

HONG KONG: The Hong Kong government yesterday set the rules for an open dialogue between leader Carrie Lam and the public next week, telling those taking part to be "orderly" and not bring along loudhailers or umbrellas.

Next Thursday's talks will be open to 150 people who must apply online.

"The session will be an open-dialogue platform aimed at reaching out to the public to invite people from all walks of life to express their views to the government, so as to fathom the discontent in society and to look for solutions," the government said in a statement.

Mrs Lam promised to hold the talks to try to end the disruptions in Hong Kong.

"To ensure the safety of others, participants should behave in an orderly manner," the government said.

"Participants should not bring any materials which the organiser considers possible to disrupt the event or cause nuisance, inconvenience or danger to other parties."

Such items included "loudhailers or sound amplifiers, umbrellas, defensive equipment (such as mask respirators and helmets), flags, banners, buntings, any plastic, glass, metal bottles or containers, bottled or canned drinks," it said.

Protesters, many of them masked and using umbrellas to hide behind and defend themselves, have caused havoc around the city in recent weeks, throwing petrol bombs at police, storming the Legislative Council and trashing metro stations.

Police have responded with tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets.

US congressional committees are due to start voting next week on legislation supporting human rights in Hong Kong, with measures under consideration including annual reviews of the Chinese territory's special economic status and the imposition of sanctions on those who undermine its autonomy.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a news conference on Wednesday with House members as well as Mr Joshua Wong, Ms Denise Ho and other Hong Kong democracy activists to back the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019.

"We stand with... all who are fighting for a peaceful, hopeful future," Mrs Pelosi said. - REUTERS

WORLD