Two leading academics visited the protest site outside government headquarters, where Occupy Central activists have been camped out for a fifth day, and called for calm and restraint.
Peter Mathieson, vice chancellor of the University of Hong Kong, and his Chinese University of Hong Kong counterpart Joseph Sung told the demonstrators that any violence would ruin their work.
They received applause from the crowd and left around midnight, Ming Pao Daily reported Friday.
Mathieson praised the protesters for their behavior and said safety should always be the first priority.
Sung also reminded the protesters to preserve the gains of their movement by staying calm and expressed hope the standoff will be settled peacefully.
The visit came shortly before Chief Executive Leung Chun-yin announced the appointment of Chief Secretary Carrie Lam to negotiate with the protesters.
Meanwhile, nearly 30 academics have signed a petition urging the government to begin talks with the protesters.
The petition came after reports Beijing had instructed Leung to crack down on the demonstrators.
The Institute of Education urged the protesters to immediately leave the protest area for their safety.
Former legislator Martin Lee said the key to ending the civil disobedience campaign is not in the hands of the protesters but of the central government, saying “the ball is in their court”.
Lee said a legal team is in place and will immediately seek a restraining order from the courts if any lethal weapons are used on protesters by the police.
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