by Nathan Morley
NICOSIA, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) -- Over the last week, Hong Kong has been disrupted from top to bottom by black-clad radicals hell-bent on causing chaos and wrecking the economy.
Everywhere, public life has been severely disturbed.
In such a climate, it comes as little surprise that the public are increasingly looking for a return to order and normality on this once-tranquil territory of China.
The international community is also looking on with increasing dismay at frenzied mob violence which has seen the radicals hurl rocks, use petrol bombs, fire slingshots, and let off air guns.
Even Bonnie Leung, a key protest organizer, was forced onto the back foot and publicly acknowledged on British radio that there are "radical protestors" amongst her ranks.
Her admission came after BBC host Razia Iqbal asserted: "It is factually accurate, isn't it, that the protestors are becoming increasingly more violent?"
Protests at the airport earlier this week not only left the aviation industry reeling, but terrified holidaymakers, businessmen, families and others who were needlessly dragged into the fray.
In one especially ugly encounter, protesters screamed at a passenger carrying a child. Other passengers were verbally abused by the protesters, while a reporter from the Chinese mainland was left badly shaken after being zip-tied to a luggage trolley and physically assaulted.
Even Britain's The Guardian newspaper observed that it was "not the first time that protesters have used violent tactics." The paper reported "they have been seen on a number of occasions hurling bricks and other items at riot police, while a police officer over the weekend was injured by a petrol bomb."
Over the last few days, the government calls for calm in Hong Kong have contrasted sharply with the dismissive arrogance of those tearing up the streets, who, it seems, have neither the courage nor the integrity nor the respect for their fellow citizens to comprehend the damage they are creating.
If tensions escalate further, the prospect of a greater economic backlash seems inevitable. And that, many observers say, would suit protesters as they continue to drag Hong Kong deeper into a crisis.
Mob violence leads to more mob violence.
The 7 million citizens of Hong Kong -- with their frayed nerves and growing anxiety -- continue to remain hostage to a small clique of increasingly violent radicals.
Easing their suffering with a return to normality must now be the absolute priority.