Calling her “the mother of the mafia police,” pro-democracy lawmakers yesterday twice forced Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) to stop delivering a speech laying out her policy objectives and then clamored for her resignation in chaotic scenes that caused her to walk out of the Legislative Council.
Lam was able to deliver the annual address more than an hour later by video, but the hostile reception inside the Legislative Council marked a slap in the face for the embattled chief executive grappling with anti-government protests now in their fifth month.
When Lam started delivering the speech, she was shouted down by chanting pro-democracy lawmakers, who held aloft placards showing her waving with hands colored blood-red.
They also used a projector to light up Lam’s face and the wall behind her with the protesters’ key demands.
Lam left the chamber and then came back about 20 minutes later to try again, only to be met with further fury.
One legislator brandishing a placard climbed onto a desk. Again, the council president stopped the session and Lam left.
Finally, 75 minutes after the previously scheduled start of the lengthy address, Lam delivered it via video link.
She appealed for Hong Kong’s 7.5 million residents to “cherish the city,” warning that “continued violence and spread of hatred will erode the core values of Hong Kong.”
Standing ramrod-straight, she then launched into a dry and detailed explanation of plans to tackle the territory’s shortage of affordable housing, a long-standing source of discontent, and other welfare issues.
With its focus on such minutiae as building new tunnels and freeing up land for development, the 50-minute speech, titled: “Treasure Hong Kong Our Home,” was likely to fuel protesters’ criticism that Lam is deaf to their concerns about the future of the territory’s freedoms.
Even before Lam delivered it, protesting Hong Kong Legislator Claudia Mo (毛孟靜) dismissed the address as a “shame and a sham.”
“She is just a puppet on strings, being played by Beijing,” Mo said at a news conference with other lawmakers outside the chamber after they successfully thwarted Lam’s address.
They played a recording on a small loudspeaker that they said was the sound of police tear-gassing protesters and of protesters’ wails.
“These are the voices of people screaming and they are just ordinary Hong Kong people,” Hong Kong Legislator Tanya Chan (陳淑莊) said. “Please, please, please Mrs Carrie Lam, don’t let us suffer any more.”
She and the others called for Lam’s resignation.
“This is the only way that we can have a good future,” Chan said.
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