A rioter is about to throw a Molotov cocktail at the police in Causeway Bay of south China's Hong Kong, Aug. 31, 2019. (Xinhua)
"I witnessed those young people hurling a large number of Molotov cocktails and set things on fire in the street. It was like a battlefield," a Hong Kong resident surnamed Chow told Xinhua on Sunday about the rioters' acts on Saturday evening.
"I also saw them damage the ticket gates at an underground railway station to let their fellows enter the station without tickets," Chow said, adding that continuous violence and disruptions like this in recent weeks have seriously affected different sectors in Hong Kong, causing many shops to close and many people to lose jobs.
"I really hope these young people will soon come to their senses and stop being used as pawns to destroy Hong Kong," Chow said, calling on radical protesters to stop all violent acts so that the city can "come back on track."
After a night of violence and sabotage in different parts of Hong Kong, people and groups from different sectors in the community on Sunday voiced their stern condemnation and called on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government to curb violence in accordance with the law and bring the "black hands" behind the riots to justice.
Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, the chief secretary for administration of the HKSAR government, said in a blog on Sunday that the radical demonstrators became increasingly violent, openly defied the law and order and seriously disrupted public order in disregard of public safety.
"People from all walks of life should draw a line with violence and condemn the violent demonstrators' acts in the strongest terms," Cheung said, stressing that the HKSAR government fully supports the police in enforcing the law and bringing the perpetrators to justice.
A joint statement signed by 39 members of the HKSAR Legislative Council (LegCo) sternly condemned the rioters' "lawless crazy acts", which "seriously endangered the personal safety of police officers and residents and undermined the peace of Hong kong."
The LegCo members reiterated their full support to the police in upholding law and discipline in accordance with the law, and urged the police to take all effective measures to curb violence and disorder as soon as possible.
"In view of the continuous escalation of some violent radicals' unlawful acts of sabotage, which are by no means 'peaceful, rational or non-violent', we appeal to the public to jointly say 'no' to violence," said the statement.
Political group the Business and Professionals Alliance for Hong Kong (BPA) said in a statement that the rioters attempted to intimidate the HKSAR government and the public with unlawful and violent acts, which seriously threatened the safety of policemen and innocent people and disrupted businesses in many districts.
The group expressed support for the HKSAR government to take swift and forceful measures to curb violence and chaos, and for the police to strictly enforce the law and quickly apprehend the perpetrators.
Strongly condemning the rioters' sabotage of facilities at different underground railway stations, the Hong Kong Federation of Railway Trade Unions said the radical protesters' fight in the unjustifiable way would never be recognized by the public.
Local newspaper Ta Kung Pao said in an editorial on Sunday that Saturday's riots saw unprecedented escalation of violence and were a desperate attempt by the forces intending to destabilize Hong Kong.
With the HKSAR government's efforts to curb violence with legal measures in full swing, the black-clad rioters will eventually be brought to justice, and the "black hands" behind them will also face the harshest legal penalties, said the editorial.
Another newspaper Sing Tao Daily criticized some opposition figures, behind-the-scenes agitators and international media for inciting the violent radicals.
"Those who support and advocate 'valiance' should bear certain liability for putting these young people and Hong Kong as a whole under dangerous circumstances," the daily said in its editorial.