news Thursday, January 29, 2015 - 05:30

The News Minute | October 10, 2014| 09.30 pm IST

Student leaders leading pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong once again called on followers to occupy the city streets Friday after the government cancelled scheduled talks to discuss electoral reforms.

Lester Shum, the deputy secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students which was to hold talks with authorities, responded to the government's decision with a call to citizens to take to the streets Friday night.

The call was given after the second in charge of the Hong Kong government, Carrie Lam, announced the cancellation of the negotiations in response to plans for acts of civil disobedience by the students.

"The dialogue would not be constructive. Students must withdraw," Lam said hours after the three main organisers of the mass protests announced that they would occupy the streets.

Lam said the call to action was against the principles established to initiate dialogue and should not be used "as a bargaining chip" for the talks to take place.

Lam repeated the condition that the talks should be in accordance with the constitution and the decisions of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress which Aug 31 denied the possibility of the island freely choosing its candidates for the elections of 2017.

The general secretary of the Federation of Students, Alex Chow Yong-kang, said that Lam had used the comments of the students as an excuse to cancel the talks.

After hearing of the cancellation of the talks which had been aimed at ending 13 days of demonstration and road blocks, a group of politicians, teachers and students launched a campaign to gather signatures to urge the government representatives and students to resume talks as soon as possible.

After almost two weeks of the protests, barely 100 people continued protesting Friday by blocking streets of the city, just a shadow of the thousands who attended the demonstrations when they began.

With IANS

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