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UNHRC 'disturbed' about violent protests in HK, calls for restraint and dialogue

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UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet said she was "disturbed" by incidents of increasing violence associated with the anti-government protests in Hong Kong and urged authorities to respond to any acts of violence with restraint.

She also urged embattled Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to hold a dialogue with the people of Hong Kong, who should take an opportunity in an effort to end to the crisis "peacefully and constructively".

"My office continues to engage in bilateral dialogue with the Government of China. In relation to Hong Kong, while many of the demonstrations have been conducted peacefully and according to law, I have been disturbed by scenes of increasing violence associated with some recent protests," Bachelet said in her opening remarks at the 42nd UNHRC session here.

"I appeal to those engaging in demonstrations to do so peacefully and in accordance with the law. I also urge the authorities to continue to respond to any acts of violence with restraint, and without excessive force," she added.

Since June, Hong Kong has seen weeks of anti-government protests that began against a now-suspended extradition bill, which would have allowed criminals to be sent to mainland China for trial. The agitations have since broadened to include calls for democracy, police accountability and the resignation Lam, who is backed by Beijing.

Protesters and police have violently clashed with each other with both escalating their use of force, leading to a full-blown crisis in the Asian financial hub.

China has decried the protests and has threatened military action in the semi-autonomous city, with one Chinese official alleging that the demonstrations have "begun to show signs of terrorism".

Hong Kong functions under the 'one country, two systems' rule and was handed back to China by Britain in 1997.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, September 10 2019. 03:49 IST