Date
22 October 2017
Umbrella Man, a sculpture by the Hong Kong artist known as Milk, is set up at a pro-democracy protest site next to the central government offices on Sunday. Photo: AFP
Umbrella Man, a sculpture by the Hong Kong artist known as Milk, is set up at a pro-democracy protest site next to the central government offices on Sunday. Photo: AFP

Street occupation to go on if police start clear-out, HKFS says

The Hong Kong Federation and Students (HKFS) has declared it will not retreat but will press on with its Occupy campaign if the police start to clear the streets of demonstrators.

No police action was seen up to early Monday, with as many as 20,000 demonstrators still occupying the streets near the government headquarters in Admiralty, according to Apple Daily.

Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Saturday the government would only tolerate street occupation until Sunday midnight before the police began evacuation. On Thursday, he appointed Chief Secretary Carrie Lam to begin talks with the HKFS.

In a statement on Sunday the HKFS, which has led street occupation since September 28 to demand political reform, said it is likely to suspend preparation for dialogue with the government if the police uses force. However, to show goodwill, the study body called on demonstrators to clear a passage on the bridge that connects the government headquarters and the Admiralty subway station to allow workers to go to work on Monday. 

Lester Shum, deputy secretary-general of the federation, and several student representatives on Sunday held the first meeting with government officials, including Under Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Lau Kong-wah, to arrange for the dialogue.

Shum later said the students proposed three principles, namely multiple rounds of dialogue, equal stance between both sides and a promise by the government to implement the conclusions of the dialogue. But no consensus was reached. He hoped to discuss the principles again in the next meeting.

Shum said the only goal for demonstrators is genuine universal suffrage for the 2017 chief executive election. Street occupation will continue until they see concrete results. They are not sure if the government is trying to apply the strategy of procrastination, but it has shown some goodwill, he said.

Meanwhile, the HKFS apologized on Facebook on Sunday night to the citizens for the inconvenience caused by the civil disobedience movement which it claims is for the sake of justice and not personal interests so that future generations will not have to sacrifice more for democracy.

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TL/AC/JL

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