09/30/2014, 00.00
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Hong Kong Chief Executive calls for immediate end to protests. Occupy Central calls for his resignation

by Paul Wang
Day three of Occupy Central. Sit-ins extend to Yau Ma Tei and Des Voeux Road. Schools are still closed; 37 banks are closed. There is growing solidarity among population towards the demonstrators. Yesterday evening, tens of thousands of people were in the street. Last night in Mong Kok, a speeding car tried to crash into some of the demonstrators. Many commuters accept transport difficulties because they share the ideals of democracy. "Proud" to be Hong Kongers.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The Chief Executive of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying this morning demanded an "immediate" end to pro-democracy protests that have blocked main arteries on the island and Kowloon for two days. In turn, the democratic movement, on the third day of the Occupy Central campaign, continue to demand his resignation.

It was his first public intervention since the students began their strike last week seeking a meeting with him - which he refused - and since police were ordered to attack them with tear gas, pepper spray, batons and water cannons.

In fact it was this violence against groups of young defenseless and peaceful students that triggered the even greater wave of protests, resulting in the occupation of many areas of the city center and the Kowloon peninsula. Yesterday evening, tens of thousands of people poured into Admiralty, Gloucester Road, Mong Kok, Argyle Street in support of the protesters, lighting up the night with their mobile phones and their solidarity (see photo).  

Many people are bringing fruit and food to the students; some have even placed a portable barbecue so they can grill meat; small business owners have brought thousands of bottles of water, sandwiches, masks to protect them from the tear gas.

Last night in Mong Kok, there was a moment of great tension when a car tried to ram a group of demonstrators. The driver then abandoned the car and fled.

This morning the many who slept on the pavement or sidewalk, cleaned the streets of waste, earning the nickname "the polite demonstrators".

The non-violent nature of the movement is clearly evident, but not to Leung, who continues to blame students and Occupy Central for the clashes with the police.

It echoes the official line taken by Beijing and broadcast through its media and spokesmen who continue to stigmatize the demonstrations as "illegal activities that undermine the rule of law and social harmony".

However the local population see things differently: Beijing and Leung have betrayed the trust of the local people by deceiving the public. Leung never presented the real situation of the people and their desire for full democracy to the Chinese leaders; Beijing has stifled these impulses by outlining an elective structure in which it chooses the candidates.

Beijing is terrified that the democratic impulse could spread to the territory of mainland China. To prevent this from happening all news reports and images on the events in Hong Kong are censored in Chinese media, although many mainland Chinese are able to learn the facts through some social media.

Today, in addition to Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay and Mong Kong, there are also protesters in Yau Ma Tei and Des Voeux Road. Even today many schools, dozens of banks - at least 37 - and industries are closed. To go to work in Central, where the main streets are occupied, commuters  have to walk for almost an hour. Someone said: "A little bit of inconvenience is not too bad, ...I think it's good that people are showing they care about democracy".

Beijing's heavy handed tactics in stifling the desire for democracy is forcing the population of Hong Kong to unite to defend their way of life. Helen, who last night was among the demonstrators, states: "We are proud to be from Hong Kong and proud its inhabitants took to the streets to defend our identity because we feel profoundly different from those who rule the Chinese mainland in every sense, emotionally, culturally, traditionally".

 

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