Schools in Hong Kong were kept closed and transport networks remained stuck for the fourth day in a row, as the fallout of violent protests pushed expats to reconsider their future in the city.
The protests, which lasted several months and began after the authorities presented an extradition bill providing for the sending of suspects to the Republic of China for the first time in Mainland China. , intensified this week as fierce fighting took place on the university campuses of the territory.
Universities suspended their classes the rest of the year and the violent scenes provoked an exodus of Chinese students.
Some international students have sought the help of their consulates. France helped students who wanted to leave and the UK consulate advised its citizens on campus to stay in their dorms.
The demonstrations alarmed investors. The Hang Seng index closed down 0.9%, a decrease of 4.8% for the week.
The protests extended beyond the students to include professionals from the financial sector, in particular because the demonstrations initially organized on the weekends also take place during the working week.
Office workers demonstrated this week in the city's financial district, helping set up roadblocks to show their support for more radical protesters. The images of professionals firing tear gas while the police were cleaning the roads have become commonplace.
A video of a banker being put on the ground and arrested by the police was widely broadcast online Wednesday. "I work at Citibank, agree. . . My office is about 500 meters from here! "It's said in English.
A spokesman for Citibank said: "We are aware of this incident and investigations are continuing. We expect all our employees to comply with the law. "
Citi is one of many foreign companies to advise staff to try to avoid dangerous situations, allowing employees to work from home or make other arrangements.
BNP Paribas and S & P Global, the rating agency, also told staff that they could work from home. Some BNP employees work from other business continuity planning sites than their main offices.
A Hong Kong resident with a Canadian passport told the Financial Times that the protesters' demands were "unreasonable". He added that he supported the police and intended to leave Hong Kong because he no longer felt safe on the territory.
Police used tear gas Thursday after they said protesters had fired arrows and thrown objects at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, accusing them of "serious harm to safety and security." public order ".
As violence forced the closure of local and international schools, some foreign residents complained that their lives were disrupted.
"I know it sounds ridiculous, but I've talked to several expats and I think that from their point of view, things only get serious when their kids can not go to school and that They can not have their milk and go to yoga, "said a foreign leader. says the Financial Times.
Some Hong Kong people decry such feelings. A 32-year-old office worker at Thursday's noon protest said expatriates were complaining "of not knowing the background" of the protests. "It's not at home," she added.
Additional report by Jamil Anderlini