HONG KONG -- Leung Chun-ying, Hong Kong's embattled Chief Executive said that there is “zero chance” that the demands of pro-democracy protesters being met, in a TV interview broadcast locally Sunday morning.
In an interview with Hong Kong broadcaster TVB, Leung said that Occupy Central, the pro-democracy protests now entering their third week was “a mass movement that has spun out of control," adding “the latest developments show that no one can lead which direction the movement goes,” according to a report in the South China Morning Post.
In addition to rejecting the protesters demands that China drop political vetting of candidates for the city's 2017 chief executive election, Leung also insisted that despite calls from the the activists, that he would not be stepping down.
"I believe my stepping down will not solve the problem since [protesters] are demanding the National People’s Congress to withdraw its decision and civil nomination, which is impossible."
Leung added that the protests "cannot go on for a long time", saying that the government would try to “convince” protesters to end their occupation, and that police would use minimal force, according to the South China Morning Post.
"We have a responsibility to enforce the law but this incident is very special [...] which is why the government, the police force included, have been handling this incident with maximum tolerance," Leung said.
Talks between student activists that were scheduled to take place on Friday were cancelled, after Carrie Lam, the city's top civil servant, said that protesters had failed to meet “the basic conditions of dialogue,” by insisting on calling for Leung's resignation -- a demand the authorities have refused to entertain.
The talks' cancellation breathed new life back into the protests Friday, after several days where protester numbers had visibly begun to dwindle.
Students leaders warned Saturday that the movement “may escalate”, if the government does not agree to talks, according to a report from RTHK. Lester Shum, the deputy secretary-general of the Federation of Students, said at this stage they were just encouraging a long-term occupation, but that could change if the government does not engage
Hong Kong Executive Councillor Regina Ip told RTHK that talks between the government and students could commence in earnest this week.
"I've also heard from the Chief Secretary that efforts are still underway, through intermediaries, to resume the talks, to reactivate the talks, so all is not lost," Mrs Ip said.
The Hong Kong Federation of Students published an open letter to Chinese President Xi Jinping Saturday, which denied that they were engaged in a “color revolution or the like, but rather a movement for democracy.”