Hong Kong, Oct 2 (IANS) Pro-democracy protests continued in Hong Kong for the fifth day Thursday with students threatening to take over government buildings unless the territory’s chief executive, Leung Chung-ying, resigns by the end of the day.
The “Umbrella Revolution”, as the protest has come to be called, continued to attract thousands of demonstrators in four points around the city, Efe news agency reported.
The protesters are insisting on universal suffrage for the next municipal elections scheduled for 2017.
Shouting to the crowds through bullhorns, some students called for Leung’s resignation, echoing demands by student leader Lester Shum who said the civil disobedience campaign would intensify if the chief executive did not step down before the day was over.
One of his threats was to occupy government buildings but witnesses said there was only a light police presence around state property.
The number of protesters occupying city streets overnight was less than on previous nights but as morning came, people began to gather in Hong Kong’s financial district and the three other neighbourhoods where the demonstrations are taking place.
Included in the crowds were families and tourists taking advantage of the two-day holiday marking China’s national day which began Wednesday.
“I’ve just arrived to spend the rest of the day here just as I did yesterday and previous days after getting off work,” office worker Cherry Szeto told Efe.
“We will be here until the end and suffer all the consequences (because) we want them to listen to us as we are demanding something reasonable and we won’t leave without it,” one group of students said.
According to an earlier Xinhua report, the Hong Kong government issued a statement Thursday urging an end to the protests.
The statement said the protests have taken up various districts on Hong Kong island and in Kowloon for five consecutive days, causing increasingly serious impacts on people’s livelihood, Hong Kong’s economy and even government operations.
The government and the police appealed to those who were gathering outside the Police Headquarters, Central Government Offices (CGOs) and Chief Executive’s Office (CEO) not to block the access there and to disperse peacefully as soon as possible.
They called on the organisers of the protests and other organisations involved to stop occupying government property immediately.
Those who participated in protests have claimed publicly that they would escalate their actions to surround government premises including the Police Headquarters, CGOs and CEO.
THE Protesters have been gathering around these buildings and operations have already been affected, the government said.
In order to continue with its services to the general public, the CGO would need to be in operation as usual on Friday.
Some 3,000 government officials will try their very best to return to work.
If the siege continues and worsens, the access, normal operation and security of the government offices will be seriously affected.
This will affect social order and the provision of government services to the public and society.
In its statement, the government said that it hoped that the public would understand that the government has the responsibility to protect these government offices so that these can resume normal operations.