Occupy Central co-founder Chan Kin-man is calling the street protest “mission double impossible”, saying he never had high hopes of success.
However, he said he would give it high marks for inspiring Hong Kong people.
Chan, a sociology professor in the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said he will no longer serve as a leader of any social movement but will continue fighting for democracy through his writings, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.
Chan co-founded Occupy Central in 2013 with law professor Benny Tai and Baptist minister Chu Yiu-ming, helping inspire the student-driven democracy street protests a year later.
Chan urged the students to withdraw from their two-month-old street occupation “before matters get out of hand”.
He said the protest movement has reached a critical point as frustrations grow among ordinary citizens.
Even in a civil disobedience campaign, “one must listen to the views of people”, he said.
With the government refusing to give in to the protesters’ demands, Chan said he is pessimistic about the outcome of the movement.
But he said it’s important to keep trying and students should continue to lead.
“No democracy campaign can be successful with just one try,” he said.
Chan said he was prompted to surrender to the authorities after students surrounded government headquarters last Sunday, resulting in violent clashes with the police and dozens of arrests.
He said the protesters could lose control of the campaign if they resort to hunger strikes to try to extend the protest.
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