Hong Kong, October 2: The authorities of Hong Kong advocated mass of Â pro-democracy protesters to open blockade of city centerÂ on Thursday. Any further attempt to surround governmentÂ buildings by protesters would result in sturdy response.
The young protesters demanded resignation by the end of Thursday of Hong Kong’s leader, Leung Chun-Ying. The protesters have threatened to surround and occupy government buildings if their demands are not fulfilled.
Moreover, to introduce full democracy and choose leader of their choice, they have also introduced China.
AsÂ Leung has denied to resign, there has been a question to how much political control China should have over Hong Kong. Leung was appointed by Beijing.
The Hong Kong government said the protests, now in their sixth day, were affecting public order and public services.
“About 3,000 government officials will try their best tomorrow to return to work as (much) as possible. To maintain public service, the government headquarters must operate as usual,” the government said in a statement.
“The police will take action in accordance with the law if the protesters tried to enter government buildings.”, says Steve Hui, senior superintendent of Hong Kong police force.
Hui added that police will take firm action to maintain public order whenever any such violent and major incidents,crime or other fighting situations harm safety and public order.
Riot police used tear gas, pepper spray and baton charges last weekend to stop the stike. This is the worst senario in Hong Kong since China resumed its rule of the former British colony in 1997.
The “Occupy Central” movement presents one of the biggest political challenges for Beijing since it violently crushed pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Protesters across the city have dug in, setting up supply stations with water bottles, fruit, raincoats, towels, goggles, face masks, tents and umbrellas.
The Hong Kong Federation of Students, one of the protest organisers, has urged people to surround more government buildings from Friday unless the authorities accepted their demands.
Protest leaders addressed supporters camped near the government headquarters, preparing them for a potentially tense night ahead including the possibility of police using tear gas.
The three main protest groups have started to work more closely together, trying to give a show of unity after some disagreements on tactics over the past several days.
While the number of protesters on the streets fell on Thursday, the second of two-day public holiday, tension remained high and the demonstrations appeared far from over.
Outside Leung’s office in the Central business district, protesters surrounded a police van that tried to enter the compound, prompting police to call reinforcements. Some protesters donned goggles and gas masks.
Earlier, about 100 protesters blocked the main road leading to Leung’s office, some chanting, “Leung Chun-ying, Step Down!
China has dismissed the pro-democracy protests as illegal, but it faces a dilemma.
Cracking down too hard could shake confidence in market-driven Hong Kong, which has a separate legal system from the rest of China. Not reacting firmly enough, however, could embolden dissidents on the mainland.
A government source with ties to Leung said the Hong Kong leader was prepared to play a long-game, intervening only if there was looting or violence.
A pro-Beijing group told a news conference in Hong Kong their supporters would take to the streets to show support for Leung’s administration, raising the prospect of clashes between the two sides.
The crowded suburbs of Kowloon and the neighbouring New Territories are home to an extensive network of pro-Beijing groups, some of which boast close ties to mainland companies and officials and have grown active in street counter-protests in recent months.
A top Chinese envoy has warned that the protests could tarnish the city’s reputation as one of the world’s leading financial hubs if they continued for a prolonged period.
The city’s benchmark index, closed on Thursday for a holiday, plunged 7.3 percent in September.
Spooked by the protests, which turned violent at the weekend when tens of thousands took to the streets, some banks and other financial firms have begun moving staff to back-up premises on the outskirts of the city.
U.S. President Barack Obama told visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who earlier met Secretary of State John Kerry, that Washington was watching the protests closely and urged a peaceful solution.
Universal suffrage is an eventual goal under the “one country, two systems” formula by which China rules Hong Kong. Under that formula, China accords Hong Kong some autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China.
However, protesters calling for free elections reacted angrily when Beijing decreed on Aug. 31 that it would vet candidates wishing to run in Hong Kong’s 2017 election.
Source: Â http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN0HN03Q20141002?irpc=932