Hong Kong students refuse to retreat, plan protest expansion

Hong Kong students refuse to retreat, plan protest expansion
Protesters hold their hands as they gather around the Golden Bauhinia Square during an official flag raising ceremony to commemorate the Chinese National Day in Hong Kong, October 1, 2014.

HONG KONG - Hong Kong's student protesters said Thursday they would not retreat from their barricades and will take over new areas in their struggle for full democracy unless the government meets their demands.

"Without a just explanation and concrete ideas of how to settle the current dispute, Hong Kong people will not retreat. And there's no reason for anyone to ask us to retreat. Therefore the Occupy movement must be ongoing," said Alex Chow, president of the Hong Kong Federation of Students told reporters.

"Also the students will go into different occupy areas," he added.

Student leaders are due to meet senior government figures for crunch talks Friday in a bid to end sit-ins that have paralysed parts of the vital financial hub for more than a week.

Chow said he was still serious about the talks but urged the government to be sincere about meeting their demands.

Under plans unveiled by China in August, Hong Kongers will be able to vote for their next leader in 2017, but only two to three vetted candidates will be allowed to stand.

Protesters want that plan rescinded and for the city's current Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to resign. Chow's calls came as pro-democracy lawmakers threw their weight behind the ongoing protests saying they would use their powers to disrupt the workings of the Hong Kong government inside the parliament, known as the Legislative Council.

"The pan-democratic camp in the Legislative Council decides to echo the disobedience action outside the council," pro-democracy leader Alan Leong told reporters from the same stage where Chow was speaking.

"Hong Kong has entered an era of disobedience and non-cooperation."

Leong said 23 members of the 70 seat assembly had vowed to join his campaign which would focus on halting new government appointments and any new non-essential public works projects.

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