The crowds of protesters in Hong Kong swelled overnight with some estimates that 3-400,000 "will join in a show of people's power," on the eve of the two-day National Day holiday. With neither side showing any signs of backing down, protestors remain calm and police keeping their distance - though monitoring from on high - as the Occupy Central group said it will announce plans for its next stage of civil disobedience on Wednesday if Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying does not meet their demands for democratic reform, including true universal elections by October 1 and Leung's resignation. Leung has called for Occupy Central leaders to "fulfill the promise they made to society" and immediately stop the protests, which he said have gotten "out of control," adding that, for now, they could keep control without the help of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). The protest meme remains one heard around the world - in addition to their concerns about democracy and out of control local government, Hong Kong’s younger generation are worried about low-paying jobs.
Pro-democracy protests swelled in Hong Kong on the eve of a two-day holiday that may bring record numbers to rallies spreading throughout the city as organizers pressed demands for free elections.
With the workday ended and temperatures dropping, thousands of people were returning to the three main demonstration points, blocking some of the city’s roadways. Hong Kong marks China’s National Day tomorrow, the 65th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China and Chung Yeung Festival on Thursday, when Hong Kong people honor their ancestors.
“It’s quite possible that at least more than 100,000, if not up to 300,000, 400,000 people, will join in the protest in a show of people’s power,” Willy Lam, adjunct professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong, said in an interview today. “They want to convince the Hong Kong government and Beijing that any use of force will be counter-productive. It will only galvanize more of the rest of Hong Kong’s 7 million people.”
Neither side is showing any signs of backing down even as China prepares to mark its National Day on Wednesday.
In a short statement, the Occupy Central group said it will announce plans for its next stage of civil disobedience on Wednesday if Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying does not meet their demands for democratic reform, including true universal elections by October 1 and Leung's resignation.
Leung said he would not give into the protesters' demand for his resignation or for greater democratic reforms.
In a speech Tuesday, Leung called for Occupy Central leaders to "fulfill the promise they made to society" and immediately stop the protests, which he said have gotten "out of control."
Leung said the central government decision on Hong Kong on August 31 shows that it will not comply to illegal threats made by certain people.
He also said on Tuesday Hong Kong police would be able to maintain security without help from People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops from the mainland.
Hong Kong police have withdrawn now for more than a day and protesters are continuing their efforts to prepare for a longer, more drawn out confrontation.
But, as SCMP reports, Beijing may be keeping quiet about the Occupy Central protests, but the army appears to be keeping a keen eye on what's going on.
This picture taken by an SCMP photographer today shows a man in the People's Liberation Army using binoculars to survey the protest site in Admiralty.
A row of tripods can be seen in the windows, suggesting the occupiers have been under the watchful eye of China for some time.
Some protesters have voiced concern that authorities may return again in force later Tuesday in a bid to clear the streets before the Chinese holiday, when even more protesters are expected to join the rally.
The red star on Chinese military headquarters in Admiralty is flashing bright tonight. The star was included in renovations to the building months ago, and it was unveiled in January.
While it was unclear when it had been switched on since then, the last time the People's Liberation Army's HQ decided to stage a light show on the harbour (in June), it generated controversy and set tongues wagging on whether Beijing was emphasising its sovereignty over Hong Kong.
It's a protest meme we have seen and heard around the world...
Of those who support Occupy Central, 47 percent were under the age of 24.
In addition to their concerns about democracy, Hong Kong’s younger generation are worried about low-paying jobs and increasing competition from mainland Chinese coming to the financial hub to work.
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology professor David Zweig said the controversy surrounding the 2017 elections and concerns that Leung is taking the port city down the wrong path are not the only issues driving the protests.
“I think the other issue is that there is a lot of anger. If you look at the data in general in Hong Kong, January this year, the anger at the central government, the anger at the local government, the concerns about future job prospects and all that and anxiety in general, this is worst than anytime since the major marches of 2003," Zweig said.
"I think if we want something, sacrifices cannot be avoided. No pain, no gain, right? When I see the young people's passion, I support them from deep within my heart. I hope there won't be any bloodshed," said Fung.