英文

Editorial:Say ''no'' to violence

【明報專訊】THE VIOLENT INCIDENTS on Saturday and Sunday completely shattered the atmosphere of "peace, rationality and non‑violence" early last week. It is now a fact that the anti‑amendment storm is increasingly violent. Not only did the violent elements of the protest throw Molotov cocktails, vandalise shops and facilities at the Cross‑Harbour Tunnel, but they also chased after uniformed policemen to hit them with weapons such as iron bars. The police had to shoot skyward as deterrence.

The first shot of live ammunition was fired on Sunday night in the anti‑amendment storm. To put the events in sequence, there were first a bunch of people dressed in black gathered at Yi Pei Square, Tsuen Wan where "attacks by the whites" had happened previously. Some violent people attacked mahjong parlours and amusement arcades nearby. A police van was also under attack after arriving at the scene. Some violent people attacked policemen who were on their own with weapons such as iron bars. Six policemen retreated and drew their guns, and one of them shot upwards as deterrence. As can be seen from footage, the attacks by the violent protesters were ferocious. The policeman shot skyward as deterrence at last. The situation was very dangerous indeed, as it could have resulted in casualties. Though no one has died from the incident, it is difficult to predict whether a radical protester or a policeman will lose their lives next time if the level of violence continues to go up.

Since the beginning of the anti‑amendment storm, millions of people have taken to the streets to express their dissatisfaction with the government. The absolute majority of them are "peaceful, rational and non‑violent". However, the violent elements of the protest have taken shelter of peaceful demonstrations and sought opportunities to cause chaos. It is true that violence is an outcome rather than a cause, and the deep‑seated problems should not be ignored. The fact that the government has not taken any effective action to address the discontent of the people means that it has to shoulder much responsibility for the growing storm against the amendments. How the police use force should also be looked into and dealt with. However, as long as society does not distance itself from violence, the violent people will have a pretext to keep upping the scale of violence.

Radical protesters are not happy with the government. There is no reason why they should vent their anger on facilities for the people. Last week the Yuen Long MTR station was severely damaged. Such acts of sabotage were totally unnecessary. They were taken for the sake of sabotage only, and were absolutely unreasonable. The MTR, in view of the march at Kwun Tong on Saturday, suspended the train services of seven stations on the Kwun Tong line for the better part of the day citing "the safety of staff, passengers and facilities", which has drawn much criticism.However, some people have queried whether the MTR obstructed lawful demonstrations and succumbed to pressure from the state media on the mainland. By closing some of the train stations and suspending train services, the MTR caused serious inconvenience to citizens. It is necessary to discuss seriously whether the MTR overreacted. However, it is believed that the MTR would not have made such a controversial move had it not been for the vandalisation of an MTR station previously.

The storm of protest against the amendment has so developed that there is no limit to the use of violence by a handful of protesters judging from their weapons, equipment, action plans and acts of sabotage. Some might think that that was the result of the suppression of the government and the police. However, all sectors of society do have to calm down and think whether Hong Kong as a civilised society can accept such violent actions. Society has to say "no" to violence and distinguish between peaceful protesters, who are in the absolute majority, and a handful of violent people.

明報社評 2019.08.27:暴力獠牙愈顯猙獰 擦槍走火概率陡升

周六周日的暴力事件,把上周初「和理非」氛圍砸個粉碎,香港眼前現實是反修例風暴愈來愈暴力,暴力分子除了投擲汽油彈、破壞店舖和紅隧設施,又以鐵通等武器追打軍裝警員,警員要向天開槍示警。

反修例風暴,周日晚打響了「實彈第一槍」。重組事件經過,先是一批黑衣人在發生過「白衣人襲擊」的荃灣二陂坊聚集,有暴力分子襲擊麻將館和附近的遊戲機中心,警車到場後亦遭攻擊。一批暴力分子以鐵通等武器,追打落單警員。6名警員節節後退並拔出佩槍,1人向天開槍示警。觀乎事發片段,暴力分子攻擊兇狠,警員最終是向天鳴槍一響示警,然而當時情况確是凶險,隨時有可能擦槍走火。儘管今次無人死亡,可是如果暴力持續升級,難言下次會否有激進示威者或警員命喪街頭。

反修例風暴以來,百萬計市民上街不滿政府,絕大部分人都是「和平理性非暴力」,可是亦有一小撮暴力分子,以和平示威作為掩護,伺機發難。誠然,暴力是果不是因,不能無視背後的深層次問題,政府未採取有效措施化解民怨,要為反修例風暴愈演愈烈負上很大責任,警方使用武力情况亦需正視處理,可是社會一日不與暴力劃清界線,暴力分子就有藉口不斷升級武力。

激進示威者不滿政府,沒理由拿民生設施來發泄。上周港鐵元朗站受嚴重破壞,全無必要,同樣是為破壞而破壞,不可理喻。港鐵周六因應觀塘遊行,以「員工、乘客及鐵路設施安全」為由,中斷觀塘線7站列車服務大半天,惹來不少批評,有示威者認為港鐵此舉妨礙合法遊行,亦有人質疑港鐵是受到內地官媒壓力。港鐵封閉多個車站停止服務,給市民帶來嚴重不便,當日做法是否過度反應,有必要認真商榷,然而若不是有之前的破壞車站事件,港鐵相信也沒有理由採取如此備受爭議的舉措。

反修例風暴演變到這一步,看看小撮激進分子的武器裝備、行動部署和破壞行為,已經是「暴力無底線」。即使有人認為這是政府和警方「逼」出來,可是社會各界確實需要冷靜想一想,香港作為文明社會,這些暴力行為是否真的可以接受。社會必須向暴力說「不」,將絕大部分和平示威者,與極小撮暴徒區分切割。

■Glossary

parlour:a shop/store that provides particular goods or services

vent sth (on sb/sth):to express feelings, especially anger, strongly

for the sake of sth/of doing sth:in order to get or keep sth

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