Sunday’s huge march against the government’s controversial extradition bill showed Hong Kong people at their best. It was an almost entirely peaceful expression of dissent, thanks to patience with sweltering heat and slow progress, and the even-handedness of police who opened roads and kept crowds moving. In a regrettable exception after the event had ended, two activist groups that clashed with police seemed bent on forcing confrontation. The extraordinary demonstration of defiant sentiment earlier must have given officials pause for serious reflection. But Beijing’s and the government’s resolve remains undiminished. The government has made clear it intends to go ahead with the bill tomorrow in the Legislative Council. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor did strike a conciliatory tone yesterday on the plan to allow the transfer of fugitives to the mainland and other jurisdictions with which Hong Kong has no extradition arrangements. She promised to engage the public more intensively and to make some safeguards, such as protection of human rights, binding with a policy statement to Legco. At this juncture, rational debate is paramount. People must express their views peacefully. Sunday night’s violence is to be condemned. We urge protesters to exercise restraint during a planned demonstration surrounding Legco on Wednesday night. Having rejected an opportunity to hit the pause button, Lam should redouble her efforts to reassure the public. The government must learn a lesson from the protest march and come up with more convincing explanations for not at least taking time to reflect. The way the government has gone about it has not helped. This newspaper has said all along there is no rush. A large portion of the population has now spoken unambiguously. Lam disregards their voice at political and public peril. Hong Kong leader: extradition bill goes ahead and I won’t quit Sometimes protest is the only remaining avenue for expression of strongly held views. This may be a case in point. It goes to the role of consensus and how Hong Kong is to be governed. If Lam pushes this legislation through, people may try to take things into their own hands through the right of protest. The government therefore needs to seriously consider whether adhering to a self-imposed deadline is its best option. Forcing it through in such a confrontational climate would mean Lam and the government risk paying a heavy price. It is a distraction we could do without amid a slowing economy. That said, she is an invidious position, with district council polls due in November and Legco elections next year. The longer the matter drags on the worse it may be for the pro-establishment camp’s chances. 100 firms pledge to close for day so staff can protest against fugitive bill On the other hand, if the bill is forced through, the public may not easily forget. It is a question of political judgment that has already been tested in this matter.