Hong Kong Protesters

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Hong Kong’s political divisions showed no sign of closing as students rebuffed an offer from city leader Carrie Lam to meet and a few thousand mothers rallied in support of young protesters who left a trail of destruction in the legislature’s building at the start of the week. “Don’t feel lonely, dad and mum will support you,” read one of many handwritten messages held aloft at a “Hong Kong Mothers” rally Friday. University professor Sealing Cheng asked who was responsible for the destruction of the legislature, implying that an arrogant government had driven the protesters to break into the building and rampage through it. “Our hearts ache for the young protesters and our society torn apart,” she said in a speech to the crowd of mostly women. The mainland’s economic influence loomed large at the rally, held in a square under the towering offices of the Bank of China and other Chinese banks. Many young people feel left out of the China-driven economy, struggling to make ends meet and stuck in tiny apartments because of soaring real estate prices. They think a democratically elected government would be more responsive to their needs than one chosen by pro-Beijing elites who benefit from the economic ties to the mainland. The Monday night assault on the legislature — in which glass walls were shattered, slogans spray-painted over the walls and the electronic voting system destroyed — seems to have hardened positions on both sides. The pro-Beijing establishment condemned the violence, as did the…

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