Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung and Chief Secretary Carrie Lam announced Thursday that Lam would meet with student protest leaders to discuss the ongoing demonstrations that have brought the city to a standstill. Leung and Lam’s announcement came just 15 minutes before a deadline set by protesters for Leung’s resignation. He refused to give in to their demands that he resign, however, or that Hong Kong hold democratic elections in 2017.

Crowds gathered outside Leung’s office in the hours leading up to the deadline and were met by police armed with riot gear, batons and shields. Some protest groups vowed to occupy government buildings if Leung did not agree to step down.

“I’ve been appealing to protesters that we should all follow the Basic Law,” Leung said. “Only if we follow the provisions [within the law] can we have universal suffrage in 2017.”

He said earlier that he cannot resign because he must "continue to do the work of Hong Kong electoral reform," which he said is possible within the law.

Leung said police will remain calm after they received sharp criticism for responding to crowds with tear gas and pepper spray over the weekend. Hong Kong Police spokesman Steve Hui earlier did not say if police would respond to protesters with force, but said that occupying government buildings was illegal.

The University of Hong Kong President and Vice-Chancellor James Mathieson and the Chinese University of Hong Kong Vice-Chancellor/President Joseph J.Y. Sung both asked protesters outside Leung’s office to remain peaceful just prior to the news conference. The crowds around Leung's office appear to be conflicted about what to do.

Watch a live stream of Thursday’s protests here.