Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday her administration was in control of the situation in the territory after another weekend of violence, but that China could step in if the situation got worse.
At a news conference on Tuesday, Lam said the reality was that the sharp escalation in violence showed the protests were no longer “a peaceful movement for democracy.”
After invoking emergency powers on Friday to ban people from wearing masks at rallies, Lam said she couldn’t rule out other measures including calling for Chinese intervention.
“I still strongly feel that we should find the solutions ourselves,” she said. “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’s comments come after a long weekend of violent protests at which thousands of people defied the new ban on the wearing of face masks. On Sunday, the People’s Liberation Army raised a yellow warning flag at its garrison in Hong Kong as dozens of people protested outside the site.
The protests, which show no sign of abating, pose the biggest popular challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012.