Student protesters are demanding an “open dialogue” after the Hong Kong government appointed Chief Secretary Carrie Lam to begin talks with them.
In a statement early Friday, the first week of a widening pro-democracy demonstration, the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), said it wants more details about the proposed talks, Ming Pao Daily reported.
It said Lam should take responsibility for the government and openly engage the protesters who earlier demanded Leung’s resignation after he repeatedly refused to meet them.
Leung ignored a Thursday midnight deadline to quit amid threats by the protesters to widen the action and occupy government buildings.
Earlier in the day, Beijing issued a warning to the demonstrators and reiterated its support for the embattled Leung.
On Thursday night, the protesters released an open letter seeking a meeting with Lam rather Leung, saying he has lost the trust of Hong Kong people.
The agenda included political reform and genuine universal suffrage in the 2017 chief executive election.
The letter did not press Leung to step down.
Leung and Lam announced the government’s response at a press conference shortly before midnight but did not say when the meeting will take place.
Leung said any discussion of political reform must be held in a “peaceful and rational” manner in accordance with the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini constitution, and the election framework issued by the National People’s Congress, China’s legislature.
Also, Leung promised not to use force against the protesters, who have taken over areas around government headquarters, unless they try to break police barriers and storm government buildings.
Some protesters unsatisfied with Leung’s response tried to break the barricades but were persuaded to move back.
Occupy Central, the civil disobedience group protesting alongside the students, said it welcomes Lam’s appointment as a government negotiator and expressed hope the meeting will be a turning point in the ongoing standoff.
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