Hong Kong leader rules out protest concessions ahead of Beijing visit

HONG KONG (AFP) – Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam yesterday ruled out further concessions to the city’s pro-democracy movement ahead of her weekend visit to Beijing, despite a landslide election defeat for the government and a peaceful mass march.

The movement marked its six month anniversary on Monday.

In a rare lull in police-protestor clashes, around 800,000 people marched peacefully through the city’s streets last Sunday, urging the government to respond to their five demands – which include an independent inquiry into the police, an amnesty for those arrested, and fully free elections.

An end to violence is something the city’s leadership has insisted must be a precursor to meaningful dialogue – but in her weekly press conference yesterday, Lam refused to accept protesters’ demands further to the extradition bill’s withdrawal.

“If a particular demand requires us to deviate from the law… I could not agree to accept those demands simply for the purpose of reaching people’s aspirations.”

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam. PHOTO: AP