HONG KONG (REUTERS) – Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam apologized to the city’s Muslim community on Monday after police fired a water cannon at a major mosque during operations on Sunday night to quell violent pro-democracy protests in the Asian financial hub.
While the morning after clean up was underway, Lam visited the mosque in Kowloon district, her head covered by a shawl, to express her sorrow to Islamic leaders over the incident.
The Hong Kong leader was due to depart for Japan to attend Emperor Naruhito’s enthronement ceremony, and a government statement released later said Lam thanked Islamic leaders for repeatedly calling for calm during the political turmoil that has gripped the city in past five months.
During running battles in Kowloon on Sunday, police used tear gas and water cannon trucks to disperse petrol bomb-throwing protesters, spraying jets of blue dye into the crowds.
In one instance, a cannon drenched the front gate and footpath in front of the Kowloon mosque, Hong Kong’s most important Islamic place of worship where a few people had gathered including journalists.
Blue stains from the dyed water remained on the road in front as worshippers gathered for prayers on Monday.