Hong Kong's first chief justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang on Sunday issued a statement condemning acts of violence that has gripped the city for the 17th consecutive weekend.
Violence is no solution to any problem, is unacceptable and must be strongly condemned in a society governed by the rule of law, he said.
Li served as the special administrative region's first chief justice of the Court of Final Appeal from 1997 to 2010.
The freedoms of speech, assembly and demonstration are guaranteed for the people of Hong Kong under the arrangement of "one country, two systems", he said.
However, these rights and freedoms must be exercised in a lawful and responsible manner, he stressed.
Debates and political pursuits must be conducted peacefully and rationally, the former chief justice added.