Hong Kong’s leader: ‘I will not resign’

Agence France-Presse

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Hong Kong’s leader: ‘I will not resign’


(UPDATED) In a significant concession, however, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying appoints Chief Secretary Carrie Lam to lead discussions with the students involved in pro-democracy demonstrations that have paralyzed parts of the city
HONG KONG (UPDATED) – Hong Kong’s embattled leader late Thursday, October 2, rejected protesters’ demands that he resign, but in a significant concession agreed to talks with a students group involved in pro-democracy demonstrations that have paralyzed parts of the city.
“I will not resign because I have to continue with the work for elections,” Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying told reporters at a press conference just minutes before a midnight deadline set by protesters demanding his resignation expired.
But he said he would agree to talks, appointing Chief Secretary Carrie Lam to lead discussions with the Hong Kong Federation of Students, a prominent group involved in the ongoing demonstrations.
“I am now appointing the Chief Secretary to represent the Hong Kong government to meet with the representatives of Hong Kong Federation of Students to discuss constitutional development matters,” he said.
Protesters have two demands: that Leung resign and that Beijing grant free elections in the semi-autonomous city, allowing Hong Kongers to nominate and vote for their own chief executive in leadership polls in 2017.
In August, China said Hong Kongers would be able to vote for their next leader but only those vetted by a loyalist committee would be allowed to stand – something demonstrators have dismissed as a “fake democracy”.
Speaking at his residence, a colonial-era building in a district close to where tens of thousands of protesters have besieged the city’s government headquarters, Leung defended his record and his police forces.
“All this time the government and the police has used the greatest degree of tolerance to allow them (protesters) to hold different types of assemblies to express their demands and concerns,” he said.
“In any other place in the world, if there are protesters surrounding government buildings…then the problem and the result would be severe,” he added.
Days of peaceful demonstrations have seen tens of thousands of people take over the city’s usually traffic-heavy streets as they demand Beijing grant fully free elections in the semi-autonomous city.
In the last 5 days, huge throngs have shut down central areas of the southern Chinese city with a mass sit-in, including outside the city’s legislative assembly, and have given Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying until midnight to step down or face escalated action.
China backed the city’s embattled leader, saying it was behind Leung “firmly and unshakably” and pledging support for the police as protesters prepared for a fifth night at the barricades.
The city authorities Thursday said they wanted the streets cleared around the government headquarters with with civil servants expected to return after a two-day public holiday.  – Rappler.com

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