Protesters in Hong Kong filled public parks and squares in several districts and transportation hubs today in a general strike designed to draw attention to their demands that city leader Carrie Lam resign.
But Lam said she didn't think that was the answer, warning that the disruptions have seriously undermined law and order.
She said the ongoing protests "are pushing our city - the city we all love, and many of us helped to build, to the verge of a very dangerous situation."
The protests have cancelled more than 200 flights out of Hong Kong, along with halting subway and commuter rail trains from leaving their stations.
The protests have expanded into calls for democratic reforms. The Chinese army has responded by releasing a promotional video for its troops in Hong Kong, showing them dealing with demonstrators, including aiming sniper guns at them.
Since June 9, there have been 420 arrests made in Hong Kong. On that day, floods of protesters took to the streets to voice their opposition to legislation that would allow people to be extradited to mainland China where they could face politically charged trials.
The protest was one of the largest in recent Hong Kong history, underscoring fears over China's broadening footprint in the former British colony. It appeared to be even bigger than a massive pro-democracy demonstration in 2003 against a proposed national security law, according to Associated Press journalists who covered both events.
Lam has pushed forward with the legislation despite widespread criticism from human rights and business groups.
"What can we do to get Carrie Lam to listen to us, how many people have to come out to make her reconsider listening to the public?" said Miu Wong, a 24-year-old office worker who was among the protesters.
The Hong Kong government said in a statement that it respected the right of its opponents to protest.
"We acknowledge and respect that people have different views on a wide range of issues," the statement said. "The procession today is an example of Hong Kong people exercising their freedom of expression within their rights as enshrined in the Basic Law and the Hong Kong Bill of Rights Ordinance."
Hong Kong police are being worn down in almost daily conflicts with protestors. And a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said, "If the White House really cares about a peaceful, stable and prosperous Hong Kong, it should admonish the violent and radical protesters to express their demands through peaceful means instead of violence."
Activist and former Hong Kong legislator Lee Cheuk-yan said, "The people of Hong Kong want to protect our freedom, our freedom of speech, our rule of law, our judicial system, and also our economic foundation, which is welcome to international investors."