Straits Times, Hong Kong Reuters, October 9, 2014– The Hong Kong government on Thursday called off talks with pro-democracy student leaders after they threatened an expansion of protests, dealing a blow to attempts to ease tensions that have seen tens of thousands take to the streets to demand free elections and for leader Leung Chun Ying to resign.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam, the city’s No 2 government official, was speaking on the eve of planned talks with student leaders after protests paralysed the city.
“Students’ call for an expansion of an uncooperative movement has shaken the trust of the basis of our talks and it will be impossible to have a constructive dialogue,” Ms Lam said.
Hong Kong’s Justice Department handed the investigation of a US$6.4 million (S$8 million) business payout to Mr Leung to prosecutors on Thursday as political fallout grows from the mass protests in the Chinese-controlled city.
The latest development on Thursday came after student protesters said they would not retreat from their barricades and threatened more secondary school strikes if the government does not meet their demands for democracy, reported the South China Morning Post (SCMP).
“Without a just explanation and concrete ideas of how to settle the current dispute, Hong Kong people will not retreat. And there’s no reason for anyone to ask us to retreat. Therefore the Occupy movement must be ongoing,” said Mr Alex Chow, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Students.
He warned that the protests will continue until the government has responded to their demands and provides substantial solutions to ease political tensions, according to the SCMP.
Joshua Wong, convenor of student activist group Scholarism, threatened a new wave of class boycott in secondary schools if the government fails to meet their core demands, including the retraction of Beijing’s restrictive framework on universal suffrage and the resignation of Mr Leung.
Read more: Straits Times