10/23/2014, 00.00
HONG KONG - CHINA
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Hong Kong government threatens protesters, ready to use force

An anonymous source confirms that doves have "been side-lined while hawks" have gained "the upper hand," and that "a certain degree of bloodshed would be unavoidable." So far, talks have failed to produce any result.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The Hong Kong government has decided to up the ante in its confrontation with demonstrators who have been occupying some of the city's central districts. It has also threatened them with "tougher measures" if the blockades and sit-in are not cleared.

The warning, which an anonymous source "familiar with the situation" confirmed to the South China Morning Post, was leaked following the failure of talks between a government delegation and representatives of the Federation of Students.

Students, along with the group Scholarism and Occupy Central movement, have been on strike for the past three weeks.

Their protest stems from the democratic demands of the people of Hong Kong who want meaningful universal suffrage and a democratic election of the chief executive in 2017.

Beijing has flatly rejected their demands and pushed its own reform agenda to maintain its own stranglehold over the former British colony.

Since the mainland presented its own proposal in late August, tensions in Hong Kong have risen dramatically. Since then, roadblocks, sit-ins, and demonstrations continue to affect central districts like Admiralty and Mong Kok.

On several occasions police allowed anti-Occupy groups to do whatever they wanted, including violence and intimidation, to turn people away from the streets. Until recently, police have had a formal order to "use patience." Now things are likely to get worse.

"If the conciliatory approach doesn't work, doves within the government would be side-lined while hawks would gain the upper hand," one source said.

"We are worried that the administration would eventually use force to disperse protesters and a certain degree of bloodshed would be unavoidable."

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