Tensions in ongoing Hong Kong protests reach a higher pitch
After many weeks of mostly non-violent protests by student groups and other pro-democracy demonstrators in Hong Kong's capital region, tensions are starting to rise. While there hasn't been a devolution into large-scale violent acts between police and military officers and the protestors, there have been more physical actions taken by both parties as the protests continue to gain momentum. One of the largest incidents was a break-in at a government building by protestors on November 18. Reuters said this was the latest flare in the ongoing demonstration and may have been a response to an earlier police action that was mostly peaceful.
Hong Kong court bailiffs removed a protest camp set up directly in the center of the city on November 18. This area was outside the zone designated for protests by the government, an agreement that had mostly been kept between the two sides. While that camp was in violation of the current laws, it had existed for about two months. Some protestors were unhappy about its closure. The response by members of the group, breaking into the city legislature to voice their displeasure, was swiftly met by police in what was a relatively physical response. Additionally, law enforcement officers dissuaded other protestors from entering the building by force.
Agitating factors bolster protests
The dismantling of the protest camp in the center of the city proved to be a catalyst for a rise in tensions. The New York Times reported a change in sentiment has begun to be expressed by some protestors against the strategy of non-violence advocated at the beginning of the protests. Frustration has mounted on the part of protestors. Their methods have been tolerated by the government, but little has occurred in the way of actual change.
As far as corporate travel is concerned, these flare-ups in what were mostly peaceful protests could affect the safety of employees traveling to Hong Kong or working in the city on a permanent basis. Until recently, the biggest problems faced by companies was the slowdown in travel caused by the protests and the surrounding police and military presence. However, if tensions continue to escalate, the potential for physical danger to staff members will become more likely. The uncertainty surrounding the future of the protest movement also has to be taken into consideration.
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