Protests ease in Hong Kong but students defiant

Pro-democracy protests in Chinese-controlled Hong Kong subsided as students and civil servants returned to school and work after more than a week of demonstrations, but activists vowed to keep up their campaign of civil disobedience.

Protesters lifted a blockade of government offices in the heart of the city, which had been the focal point of their action which initially drew tens of thousands onto the streets.

The civil servants were allowed to pass through protesters’ barricades unimpeded.

Only about a hundred protesters remained in an area that houses offices for international banks as well as the main stock exchange, although some students on campus remained defiant and promised to return after classes in the evening.

“I hope students can persist. If we retreat now we will lose the power to negotiate,” said Chow Ching-lam, studying on the ground at the protest site near the offices of the city’s Beijing-appointed leader Leung Chun-ying.

The protesters remain at a stalemate with Leung’s government and there was no sign of movement on talks that were proposed to end the stand-off.

The protests have ebbed and flowed, with people leaving the streets overnight to return later.

“I don’t think the protests have achieved anything particularly substantial at this point — but at least we were able to put some pressure on top government officials who seemed to be more willing to talk as opposed to before,” said Tsz Hong Lan, 20.


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