Hong Kong CNN  — 

Hong Kong’s embattled Chief Executive Carrie Lam took part in a community dialogue session with members of the public on Thursday, the first such meeting since anti-government protests began 16 weeks ago.

Lam, who has come in for intense criticism and anger for her handling of the widespread public and political unrest in the city, faced some of that emotion Thursday night as a small sample of citizens asked her questions and voiced their frustrations.

“I understand that a lot of people have lost confidence in me,” Lam said in her opening remarks. “No matter where you stand politically, I understand people are anxious, worried and maybe even angry.”

Outside the stadium where the event was being held, a few hundred protesters gathered and shouted slogans, calling on Lam to meet their five demands.

Many saw the community dialogue as a government Public Relations stunt – 20,000 people had applied to attend and only 150 were pre-selected in a lottery.

“This is not a political or a PR show but to seek change. We hope this change will shape a better Hong Kong. While this change might be difficult, I believe we should start now,” Lam said. “The dialogue is aimed so we can change, the aim to change is so Hong Kong, the city we love can become better.”