A month into the Occupy Central protests in the streets of Hong Kong, student leaders urged pro-democracy politicians to ramp up their participation in the movement, according to media reports. Many student leaders have reportedly backed the idea of pro-democracy legislators, or pan-democrats, resigning office to force by-elections in Hong Kong.
“I do hope the pan-democratic lawmakers can take up the role for dialogue,” Alex Chow Yong-kang, secretary-general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, told South China Morning Post, or SCMP. “They don't need students' endorsement and as elected legislators they have legitimate claims to make a request for talks to the government.”
A number of pro-democracy legislators and civil rights organizations have so far played a background role in the month-long demonstrations, according to media reports. Most of them have restricted themselves to providing feedback and support to the students, arranging the transfer of supplies, and facilitating the movement of protesters.
However, some legislators suggested on Monday they might resign from parliament to pressure the government and force a “de facto referendum,” SCMP reported. This move would be similar to one employed by the pan-democrats in January 2010, when a number of them resigned over demands for political reforms in Hong Kong.
Alan Leong, a leader of the Civic Party -- a liberal democratic party in Hong Kong -- said that such resignations were a distinct possibility, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
Chow added that pro-democracy legislators should lead the talks with the government, according to the SCMP report. “If politicians can steer the talk, students can focus on communicating to protesters in the streets and understanding their demands,” Chow reportedly said.
Benny Tai, a co-founder of the protest group Occupy Central with Peace and Love, also urged the Hong Kong government to respond to the people’s demands “regardless of the legal liability,” according to local media reports.
“It is reasonable to think that they may not fulfill people’s requests immediately, but it would at least provide us with confidence in a process through which our demands are dealt with fairly. If such an arrangement is made, I believe citizens in occupied areas would be willing to leave,” he reportedly said.