Administration chief 'should have responded sooner to protesters' demands' A government official was yesterday accused of being responsible for the clashes outside the Central Government Offices (CGO) last Friday after she allegedly missed the chance to reach a peaceful resolution at an early stage. The accusations were levelled at Director of Administration Chang King-yiu at a special meeting of the Legco security panel. Protesters have demanded that the administration wing and the police apologise for suppressing demonstrators' rights and using excessive force to remove them from the area. After the two-hour meeting, panel chairman James To Kun-sun concluded that the director of administration, who commanded the handling of the demonstration, failed to resolve it peacefully in the early stages. 'The administration wing, especially the director of administration, seriously failed in their job,' Mr To said. The scuffles occurred after more than 300 people marched to the offices just after a 3,000-strong candlelit vigil at Chater Garden ended at 9.15pm last Thursday. The group was trying to back 30 students who had earlier entered the CGO compound to petition Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa or senior officials in protest against the interpretation of the Basic Law. More than 80 demonstrators stayed overnight after officials rejected their demands. Police removed them at about 6.30am. Twelve people, including five police officers, were injured in the clashes. Legislator Cyd Ho Sau-lan, who helped mediate last Friday, told the panel the protesters first requested a telephone conversation with Ms Chang at 10pm last Thursday. 'It was only by about 12.20am that the director of administration called [legislator] Lee Cheuk-yan,' Ms Ho said, adding that the clashes could have been avoided had Ms Chang's office responded promptly. A spokesman for the Hong Kong Federation of Students, Yu Kwun-wai, said the administration wing rejected their offer to move the demonstration to another area in the CGO complex to avoid causing an obstruction. Mr Yu demanded that the administration wing and police apologise, adding that the two demonstrators arrested for allegedly assaulting police should be released unconditionally. The director of Human Rights Monitor, Law Yuk-kai, said the police removal operation could have been avoided if officials had made flexible arrangements to receive the students' petition letter. 'There were many chances that could have avoided the clashes,' Mr Law said. Acting director of administration Susan Mak Lok Suet-ling said Ms Chang, who is on holiday, tried to reach a peaceful resolution, and it had been difficult to pass on the students' requests immediately as it was late at night. Central district commander Chief Superintendent William Lee Wai-lam said police carried out the clearance operation at the request of the administration wing.