MANILA (UPDATE) - Filipinos in Hong Kong should spend their day off from work away from the central and business districts, where fresh protests over an extradition law could turn violent, a top diplomat said Sunday.
Protesters on Sunday afternoon were set to march from a park on the main island to the city's parliament -- a repeat of a massive rally last week in which organizers said more than a million people turned out.
"Sa atin pong mga kababayan, pinag-iingat lang po natin na 'wag munang makisali sa mga protesta kung sila naman ay walang saloobin dito sapagkat maaari pong maging marahas, bayolente ang mga protesta, katulad po ng nakita natin noong nakaraang Miyerkules," said Consul General Antonio Morales.
(We are urging our compatriots to refrain from joining the protests if they don't have sentiments over the issue because the protests may turn violent like what we saw last Wednesday.)
Hong Kong is home to some 230,000 Filipinos, who are mostly domestic workers, said Morales.
The international finance hub was rocked by the worst political violence since its 1997 handover to China on Wednesday as tens of thousands of protesters were dispersed by riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.
Chief executive Carrie Lam on Saturday suspended work on the Beijing-backed law, which critics fear will tangle people up in China's notoriously opaque and politicized courts and damage the city's reputation as a safe business hub.
Lam stopped short of committing to permanently scrapping the proposal and the concession was swiftly rejected by protest leaders, who called on her to resign, permanently shelve the bill and apologize for police tactics.
Legal and rights groups claimed officers used the actions of a tiny group of violent protesters as an excuse to unleash a sweeping crackdown on the predominantly young, peaceful protesters.
Protest leaders have called for police to drop charges against anyone arrested for rioting and other offenses linked to Wednesday's clashes.
Lam has argued that Hong Kong needs to reach an extradition agreement with the mainland, and said safeguards were in place to ensure dissidents or political cases would not be accepted.
Opposition to the bill united an unusually wide cross-section of Hong Kong from influential legal and business bodies, to religious leaders and western nations.
With a report from Agence France-Press