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Hong Kong protests: Occupy Central founders to ‘surrender’

Hong Kong protests: Occupy Central founders to ‘surrender’
Professors Benny Tai Yiu-ting and Chan Kin-man and Pastor Chu Yiu-ming said they plan to surrender to police on Wednesday to take responsibility for protests that have shut down parts of the Asian financial centre for more than two months.

Instead of street protests, the three hope to continue the campaign through networking among civic groups, community organization and education in democracy and human rights.

The three are founders of the Occupy Central movement to force China’s central government to scrap its requirement that candidates for the semiautonomous region’s chief executive be approved by a panel chosen by Beijing. However, they represent only one faction of demonstrators, most of whom are students. It wasn’t immediately clear whether students would heed the call to end the protests that began in September. Joshua Wong, a prominent student leader, said on Monday he and two other members of his group would go on an indefinite hunger strike to press their demands.

“We admit that it’s difficult in the future to have an escalated action, so besides suffering from batons and tear gas, we would like to use our bodies to direct public attention to the issue,” he said on Tuesday. “We are not sure if the hunger strike can put pressure on the government, but we hope that when the public realizes the student hunger strike, they will ask themselves what they can do next.” In the early, dark hours of Monday, police armed with pepper spray, batons and riot shields clashed with activists carrying umbrellas as authorities moved to clear them out an area in front of the government complex where activist had been camped out.

The compound was forced to shut temporarily and the city’s Beijing-backed leader said public patience was wearing thin, adding that police would “continue to take decisive action to enforce the law.” In a statement, Tai, Chan and Chu said their surrender also would serve as a “silent denunciation of a heartless government”.


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