As the impasse on Hong Kong streets entered its fifth week, the majority in the city spoke up as thousands have signed a petition to support police action against the protests.
Nearly a week after a dialogue between the government and student leaders, the students have remained ambiguous toward government attempts to sustain a dialogue on the special administrative region's political structure.
Without new dialogue, a campaign by an opponent of the "Occupy Central" campaign, the Alliance for Peace and Democracy, took off on Saturday with a turnout of over 350,000.
Chief Secretary for Administration Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor reasoned that a strong rule of law is pivotal to democracy.
Lam and her team agreed last Tuesday to report recent events to the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, as well as to set up a cross-partisan platform to hold a dialogue on the design of democracy in Hong Kong beyond 2017.
Lam pledged full sincerity to carry on the talks and pleaded for the same from student leaders, as hopes are high on further talks. She also promised more efforts to break the lingering deadlock.
The government's bottom line is that the "one country, two systems" principle and the Basic Law must be upheld. The government will also work to uphold the stability and harmony of Hong Kong society, which has been divided by the standoff.
The economy is also in jeopardy, but Finance Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah feared the unlawful protests will cause more long-lasting damage to public governance, thereby setting the city on track for an irrecoverable recession.
The anxiety resonated in the community. On Sunday, scores of people continued to add their names to the expanding list of distressed residents.
A housewife surnamed Chan from the western suburbs of Hong Kong Island said that footage of the protests is emotionally disturbing to her. Calling the protesters "annoying" and "selfish", she said they took the wrong path to pursue freedom.
A couple surnamed Cheng, whose home is just a stone's throw from the protest hotspot at Mong Kok, headed straight to a signing booth set up near the rail station. The young woman said that although her work commute has been uninterrupted, the chanting has been a nuisance.
Four weeks into the occupation, she has gone from feeling sympathy for the students to finding them "barbaric", as the crowd has become less coherent and more radical. "Talks do not necessarily lead to a conclusion. The students are being unreasonable," she said.
Her husband, 32, blasted the occupiers for not addressing their opponents' views. "They need everyone to listen to their views, which are not realistic at all," he said. "They don't have a clue about what they are doing. They seem to me as messing up Hong Kong."