Hong Kong leader urges protesters to stop "illegal actions"Society
Demonstrators should stop the “illegal” protest actions in Hong Kong that “disrupt everyday life of people and their security, and undermine the economy and the image of Hong Kong,” the head of China’s special administrative region said on Tuesday.
The movement has been already labeled "the Umbrella Revolution" for the umbrellas that many people are holding to protect themselves from pepper spray and tear gas, as well as to cope with oppressive heat.
Hong Kong’s chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, said the organizers of the protests, the Occupy Central group, have earlier repeatedly pledged to stop the demonstration if the situation goes out of control.
In his 15-minute address, the first over the past few days, the Hong Kong leader however failed to reveal how the administration plans to resolve the current situation. He also refused to confirm whether the local officials are expected to hold talks with the leaders of the pro-democracy movement.
At the same time, Chun-ying said he is not planning to leave office. His resignation is a key demand of many of the protesters. While condemning the “illegal actions,” the leader stressed that Beijing will not revise the decision on the political reforms in Hong Kong.
The protesters, the majority of whom are students, continue blocking the streets in several areas of Hong Kong and the Kowloon Peninsula, seriously disrupting the traffic.
The number of demonstrations, which are being held in a peaceful way, with no violent incidents reported, has been reduced, an ITAR-TASS correspondent reports from the scene.
No special police units, which on Sunday used tear gas to disperse the crowds, are now seen on the streets.
Police officers are trying to convince the pro-democracy protesters to leave the streets and key crossroads to allow emergency vehicles, public transport and other traffic to pass.
However, the protesters are set to remain on the Hong Kong streets, demanding the resignation of Chun-ying and holding the democratic election through universal suffrage.
The chief secretary for the Hong Kong administration, Carrie Lam, said that it would be “unrealistic” to expect that Beijing revises the election methods for Hong Kong's chief executive in 2017.
The Hong Kong residents maintain that they have the right to freely elect the chief executive of the territory, which was handed by Britain back to China in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula that guarantees freedoms not seen on the mainland, including the right to protest.
China’s authorities have promised to allow this practice in 2017 on condition that there are no more than three candidates who need to be approved by the nominating committee controlled by Beijing.
These restrictions do not allow pro-democracy candidates to participate in the elections, the opposition says.
In response, the supporters and activists of the Occupy Central movement are threatening to continue the civil disobedience actions in the city, which are expected to reach a peak on October 1 marking the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.