Hong Kong student leaders said Wednesday that they would remain at the protest site until the last moment as authorities prepare to clear the main street near government headquarters, which has been occupied by pro-democracy demonstrators since September, The Associated Press (AP) reported. Dozens of protesters still remained on the streets of Admiralty -- the largest remaining protest site in the district -- less than a day before Thursday’s move to clear the area.
The Admiralty site, which has been a symbol of the Occupy Central movement, has been blocked by protesters demanding full democratic rights to elect the city's leadership. The student leaders reportedly said that they would try to peacefully resist police operations Thursday after the court ordered the city to clear all protest sites. The Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism, the two student groups that have played a key role in the protests, urged people to gather at Admiralty on Thursday when court workers and police begin removing barricades and tents from the site.
"We will still resist till the last moment," Alex Chow, secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, said, according to AP. He said the reason for staying until the end is "not simply for us be arrested, but to demonstrate our spirit" of civil disobedience.
Joshua Wong, the 18-year-old head of the Scholarism group, urged supporters to remain peaceful and refrain from obstructing court workers or the police.
"If the government wants to use police to clear the site, don't forget, the clearance can't resolve political conflicts, it can't resolve society's dilemma," Wong, who concluded his hunger strike after 108 hours, or almost five days, on Saturday, said according to AP.
Meanwhile, some protesters reportedly dismantled their tents ahead of the police action.
"Some will fight back. Some will sit down and wait to be arrested," Johnny Chung, a 20-year-old student, told Reuters. "The government is ridiculous. Over 100,000 people came here and slept on the street ... and this government did nothing."
Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had said Monday that the police are expecting “furious resistance” by protesters who still remain at Admiralty.