Hong Kong council session adjourns as members heckle Carrie Lam

Hong Kong council session adjourns as members heckle Carrie Lam

Hong Kong’s Legislative Council meeting was adjourned on Thursday as pro-democracy lawmakers repeatedly heckled the city’s embattled leader, Carrie Lam, with several dragged out from the chamber for the second day in a row.

Lam, who is backed by China’s government, was due to speak a day after announcing measures to tackle the city’s chronic housing shortage in her annual policy address, which she was forced to deliver by video after pro-democracy lawmakers heckled her in the legislature.

Lam has faced an outpouring of anger from her opponents since the legislature opened its doors for a new session on Wednesday, three months after the building was trashed by masked protesters.

On Thursday, she returned to the Legislative Council for a session in which she was due to answer questions from lawmakers about the content of that policy speech.

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But chaos erupted once more as her political opponents chanted slogans and were dragged one by one from the chamber.

Hong Kong has been rocked by the worst political unrest in decades.

Millions have taken to the streets, initially against a now-dropped bid by its leaders to allow extraditions to the authoritarian Chinese mainland.

But after Beijing and Lam took a hard line, the movement snowballed into a broader push for democracy and police accountability.

Activists have for years accused Beijing of eroding the city’s unique freedoms, contrary to a deal that outlined Hong Kong’s 1997 return to China from British colonial rule.

Lam, who was appointed by a pro-Beijing stacked committee, faces historically low approval ratings and has struggled to end the political crisis.

Wednesday’s policy speech was billed as an attempt to win hearts and minds after four months of seething pro-democracy protests.

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But it was heavily criticised both by opponents and even her allies for offering little in the way of a substantive political solution.

Instead, Lam focused on economic gripes, vowing to increase housing and land supply in a city that has one of the least affordable property markets in the world, and announcing a handful of subsidies.

But she gave no political concessions to the democracy movement and said progress could only be made once violence from protesters ends.

Activists have said they will only end their huge rallies if core demands are met, including an independent inquiry into the police, an amnesty for the more than 2,500 people arrested and fully free elections.

Both Lam and Beijing have repeatedly dismissed those demands and say Hong Kong’s freedoms are being protected.

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