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Hong Kong Protesters Considering Retreat

HK-china-wsj-dec14

HONG KONG— Mia Lamar and Isabella Steger reporting: Student protesters demanding greater democracy for Hong Kong said Thursday they are more seriously weighing a retreat from the roads they have occupied for more than two months.

The remarks were the latest sign of the narrowing options that the protesters face as police have increased their efforts to remove the demonstrators from the streets and public support for the occupation of busy city thoroughfares has faded.

“Occupying here doesn’t put enough pressure on the government. If it put enough pressure, we wouldn’t be here two months….In the end, we didn’t get what we want, but this movement inspired people that we can’t live like this anymore.”

—  18-year-old student Timothy Sun

The Hong Kong Federation of Students, a group of university students at the helm of the protests, and Scholarism, a teenage student protest group, could issue a decision over whether to retreat from the encampments within the next week, according to student leaders.

A street cleaner pushes her cart between rows of tents at the pro-democracy movement's main protest site in Hong Kong's Admiralty district. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

A street cleaner pushes her cart between rows of tents at the pro-democracy movement’s main protest site in Hong Kong’s Admiralty district. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Yvonne Leung, a spokeswoman for HKFS, made the remarks on a local radio program. Eighteen-year-old Scholarism leader Joshua Wong separately told The Wall Street Journal that his group, which works closely with HKFS, is also considering a retreat. Mr. Wong is in the third day of a hunger strike, along with four other teen members of his group.

“For me, I think it’s time to adjust tactics. Retreat doesn’t necessarily mean failure.”

— Student leader

Protesters are calling for the right of citizens to select their own candidates for the city’s top leadership post, not those vetted by Beijing as per a decision handed down by the National People’s Congress in August. Those calls have been rejected by the government as nonnegotiable under Hong Kong’s Basic Law, a “mini-constitution” held with Beijing. The city will vote in 2017 for its next chief executive, a five-year appointment.

Student leaders for weeks have grappled with how to proceed with the protest but have been hesitant to leave the streets without a strong concession from the government. City leaders have repeatedly dismissed the protesters’ demands as unreasonable, and new clashes in recent days between protesters and police have further eroded public support. A government spokesman on Thursday reiterated that the protesters should retreat from the protest area as soon as possible because the assembly is illegal under Hong Kong law…(read more)

WSJ

—Chester Yung and Fiona Law contributed to this article.

Write to Mia Lamar at mia.lamar@wsj.com and Isabella Steger at isabella.steger@wsj.com

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One Comment on “Hong Kong Protesters Considering Retreat”

  1. […] Hong Kong Protesters Considering Retreat (punditfromanotherplanet.com) […]


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