Date
23 September 2017
Protesters stage an overnight vigil  in a major road leading to Hong Kong's business and financial district. Photo: AFP
Protesters stage an overnight vigil in a major road leading to Hong Kong's business and financial district. Photo: AFP

Protest widens to key districts ahead of public holiday

More Hong Kong people are taking to the streets in a widening democracy protest which entered its second day on Tuesday.

Tens of thousands of residents have taken over main roads in Central, Admiralty, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok, expanding the civil disobedience beyond the heart of Hong Kong’s business and financial district, Ming Pao Daily reported.

Protest organizers led by the Occupy Central movement said the mass action could last until Wednesday, China’s national day and the start of a two-day public holiday in Hong Kong.   

The protest movement is growing despite attempts by riot police to break up the crowds on Sunday using tear gas and pepper spray.

Some reports said officers fired rubber bullets but a police spokesman denied them.

On Monday, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam said she understood the anxiety of the protesters over the aborted clear-out.

She said a second round of consultations on a proposed election reform — the main protest issue — will take place but only after the charged political atmosphere has subsided.

The announcement failed to move the demonstrators who decided to continue their protest, the report said.

Meanwhile, signs are emerging that the protest is taking its toll on Hong Kong businesses.

SOGO, a major department store in Causeway Bay, was forced to close early. More than 40 Hong Kong and Kowloon transport services either halted services or changed routes.

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