The Secretary for Security, John Lee, on Saturday defended the government's decision to invoke emergency regulations to introduce a ban on face masks, and called on the public to condemn the violence, rather than look the other way.
The announcement by the Carrie Lam administration on Friday of the ban on masks triggered widespread protests and violent clashes across the city on Friday evening, and the MTR suspended services because of damage and safety concerns.
Speaking after taking part in two radio programmes, Lee defended the mask ban, saying nobody has been arrested over the law, and dismissed accusations that it had poured petrol on the flames.
"What is adding oil to violence is people's support for these acts," Lee said, also condemning members of the public who condoned the violence.
"What is important is that everybody comes out to say 'no! society will not accept violence'. Violence is not a solution whether [what] you are asking for is right or wrong - that is not the method," Lee said.
He said by not explicitly opposing the violence, people "are adding oil to this violence".
Lee added that police are already displaying identification numbers, which hold them accountable for their actions. But he said police needed protective gear for protests, in an apparent reference to their masks and helmets.
Lee also defended the plainclothes officer who fired a live round in Yuen Long last night, saying the officer did it in self-defence.