(Reuters) – Quotes from people in Hong Kong’s central and financial districts and East Kowloon on Wednesday after days of protests and violence that have caused widespread disruption in many parts of the territory.

They declined to give their full names owing to the sensitivity of talking about the protests.

FINANCIAL DISTRICT, CENTRAL:

WAI-CHUNG, 57, CONSTRUCTION WORKER:

“The government is a big machine and needs time. We know that parts of the machine are not working, but you need to allow it time to fix itself. People already told the government the machine is not working.”

He had a meeting scheduled in the financial district, but it was canceled owing to the disruption to the transport system.

“What they call the five demands are not achievable. There’s no room for bargaining,” he said, mentioning that he attended protests in June but no longer supports the protesters.

“For some people trying to make a change, they’ve stepped up their actions. It’s not acceptable to most people. They have freedoms to express their views but if they take the actions, they should take responsibility for the damages and consequences.”

LIU, 25, WORKS IN REAL ESTATE:

“I’m not saying all the violence is right, but the values they are striving for are always right,” said Liu, who wore a turquoise face mask, referring to the protesters.

“Because the roots have not yet been solved, the government has not replied to the demands, people have escalated the violence to get the government’s attention,” said Liu, who has attended lunch-time rallies over the past two days.

“The biggest problem is setting up the independent investigation to investigate police violence. As long as the government doesn’t reply to the demands, the violence will go on and keep escalating.”

He sees two ways forward:

“The government will use extreme situations to stop the violence, like not letting people go out at night. But I think that will be slim because it’s too extreme and will be condemned by western countries. Hong Kong is still an international city…. Or the government will surrender”

LAW, 63:

“I have been crying watching the footage at the universities.”

“We are hopeless and helpless in Hong Kong now. The British did not give us democracy, but we did have our freedoms. We need help from the rest of the world.”

PANDA:

“Hong Kong belongs to China, these people don’t need to be scared. Did you see what happened at the university last night, I have a lot of friends who are leaving Hong Kong to move back to Shenzhen, the mainland, to get away from everything crazy that is happening here,” said Panda, who is from mainland Chinese and has lived in Hong Kong for seven years.

MICHELLE, 32, MARKETER:

“It hurts, really hurts. It’s not just hurting Hong Kong’s economy, but also tearing every Hong Konger’s heart apart. This is going to leave us a lifelong scar and time won’t take that away.”

ALEXANDRA, 42, WORKS IN INSURANCE:

“It is very painful to watch my city turn into this. Look at everyone around, how angry they are. There are many children inside the station, do you see anybody shouting at them? They are shouting at MTR (staff). Everyone is very tense, nobody is rational anymore. But when you see traffic police shooting at students how can you be reasonable? I want the world to know that Carrie Lam has destroyed this city and Hong Kong police are acting like Chinese police,” said Alexandra, dressed in a long, wavy black skirt and a white shirt and wearing a surgical mask.

“I grew up here. I’ve been working for almost 20 years for the same company. I never missed a day of work. This is the second time this week. I have two children, they can’t go to school. I always worry about (the children) being arrested. I don’t participate in the protests, I am too old for that. But you see on TV, police beating up children, Hong Kong’s children. Is that reasonable? What is wrong with what they are demanding? We all want to return to normal, but how can the government do that if they don’t listen to what Hong Kongers have been asking for. It’s been five months already and they still don’t care.”

JANNET, 29, RECEPTIONIST:

“My destination is Mong Kok. Even if I get there, it’s the tear gas capital of the world. Will I be able to get back? My husband is always working from home when this happens, but I’m a receptionist. I can’t be a receptionist from home, can I?”

“There’s three of us taking turns, but the other two live close by. I’m worried about my job. They know it’s not my fault but at the end of the day my colleagues can’t cover for me forever. Do I blame anyone? I blame the MTR. The government is trying to turn Hong Kongers against the students and all the protesters. But if they just listened to the protesters none of this would happen.”

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