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Lam says Chinese military could step in if uprising gets bad

Published: Updated:

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam warned the Chinese military could step in if an uprising for democratic reforms in the city gets bad, but she reiterated the government still hopes to resolve the crisis on its own.

Lam urged foreign critics to accept the reality that the four months of protests marked by a sharp escalation in violence was no longer “a peaceful movement for democracy.”

After invoking emergency powers to ban people from wearing masks at rallies, Lam didn’t rule out other measures including calling for Chinese intervention.

Lam said Tuesday: “I still strongly feel that we should find the solutions ourselves...but if the situation becomes so bad, then no options could be ruled out if we want Hong Kong to at least have another chance.”

Lam added her administration had no plans to use emergency powers for the introduction of other laws and that the Chinese territory was equipped to handle the current situation on its own as the city braced for further demonstrations through the week.

Lam was speaking at a news conference after a long weekend of violent protests at which thousands of people defied colonial-era emergency powers imposed on Saturday that had banned the wearing of face masks.

Lam on Friday invoked the emergency powers for the first time in more than 50 years in a dramatic move intended to quell escalating violence in the Chinese-ruled city.

The ban on face masks took effect Saturday, Oct. 5, under the emergency laws that allow authorities to “make any regulations whatsoever” in the public interest, Lam said.