Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's Chief Executive, vowed on Monday to maintain law and order on the day of the city-wide strike that is crippling Hong Kong.
Protesters have targeted the city's public transport during the Monday morning rush hour. At least seven railway lines were shut down as protesters blocked entrances to commuter trains.
More than 100 flights were canceled at Hong Kong's airport and the airport's express train service has also been suspended.
The Chief Executive said that the protests have caused the "majority of Hong Kong people” great "anxiety." Lam added that the "government will be resolute in maintaining law and order in Hong Kong and restoring confidence" and that now was the time to "rally together”.
Read more: Hong Kong protesters: 'We will stand together and never give up'
Mass protests enter ninth week
The mass demonstrations have entered their ninth consecutive week. Lam's comments come after weeks of daily marches and protests that have often turned into violent confrontations between demonstrators and police. Police have deployed tear gas rubber bullets and on Sunday announced that they will use blue colored liquid to distinguish protesters from non-protesting members of the public.
Protests initially stemmed from a controversial Chinese extradition law which then fueled demonstrators into demanding democratic rights and autonomy. Around 20 people were arrested during the protests over the weekend.
On Sunday, thousands of demonstrators had dressed in black and marched peacefully in the town of Tseung Kwan O.
According to organizers, at least 14,000 people from more than 20 sectors have participated in the strike. Many protesters wore masks to hide their identities for fear of reprisal. They are demanding Lam's resignation, a permanent withdrawal of the extradition bill, the right to select leaders, and an independent inquiry into police tactics and the release of arrested protesters.
mvb/aw (AP and DPA)
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