The arrest of several prominent pro-democracy activists raised concern among EU foreign ministers. With Chinese soldiers stationed at the border with Hong Kong, Europe has warned against any further escalation.
European Union foreign ministers on Friday voiced deep concern at the ongoing political crisis in Hong Kong.
"The developments in Hong Kong, especially over these last hours, are extremely worrying," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told DW at a ministers' meeting in Helsinki.
Just a few hours earlier, Hong Kong police arrested several activists ahead of a planned rally that was later canceled. Prominent pro-democracy campaigners Joshua Wong and Agnes Chow were later granted bail .
Three pro-democracy lawmakers from Hong Kong's Legislative Council, Cheng Chung-tai, Au Nok-hin and Jeremy Tam, were also detained late on Friday.
Mogherini said she expects local authorities to "respect the freedom of assembly, expression and association" as well as for people to "demonstrate peacefully."
The EU would continue to follow the situation "when it comes to the impact on EU citizens and on EU economic interests in Hong Kong," she added.
"This is something on which the member states have shown remarkable unity in the last weeks and we will continue to pass messages publicly and privately and continue to work for the situation to at least not to continue to go in the wrong direction, but rather the opposite, to reverse to a more positive trend."
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned the situation "must not escalate further," and emphasized that the "people who are taking to the streets are making use of their right to assemble and express their opinion."
Hong Kong politician "worried more blood will be shed"
Three months of protests began earlier this summer in opposition to a controversial bill that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be extradited and tried in mainland China. The legislation has since been shelved.
However, the continued demonstrations have grown into Hong Kong's greatest political crisis since it returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
"I and also many legislators are worried that more blood will be shed before the first of October," Eddie Chu Hoi-dick, a member of Hong Kong's legislative council, told DW.
"There are rumors that Beijing has already set the first of October, the anniversary of the People's Republic of China, as their deadline to pacify this movement … therefore we urge the international world to intervene in this situation of Hong Kong so to not let Beijing do whatever it wants."
mvb/rt (dpa, Reuters)