HONG KONG - Pro-democracy lawmakers accused Hong Kong's leaders of trying to evade a public backlash over mass protests in the city after they cancelled the opening session of the de facto parliament Tuesday.
The pro-Beijing speaker of the house said concern for safety was behind the postponement of the first sitting of the Legislative Council which was due to take place Wednesday.
"I am not assured that there is a quiet and safe environment in the surroundings for a meeting to be held," Legislative Council president Jasper Tsang said announcing that parliament would not sit until next week.
"We do not easily change meeting schedules. It is a very special situation at an extraordinary time." But democratic lawmakers accused the authorities of trying to avoid discussing the Occupy movement.
"You can't dodge it forever," said the Civic Party's Alan Leong, speaking alongside a group of pan-democrats.
"Even if you postpone it for three weeks, public anger will not go away." Some politicians have pledged to disrupt the parliament - which was to resume after an almost three-month summer recess - as a sign of their support for the civil disobedience movement that is campaigning for fully free elections.
Members of the public are also allowed to sit in on parliamentary meetings.
Protesters have blockaded the government complex during the pro-democracy demonstrations, forcing it to close on Friday.