Update as of 7:15 a.m. EDT: Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has been asked by Beijing to wait out the protests and resolve the standoff “in a peaceful manner,” the Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
“Beijing has set a line to C.Y (Leung). You cannot open fire,” the source told the Journal. “The strategy is to control the situation and let them occupy until a time that the inconvenience caused to others in Hong Kong will swing the public opinion against Occupy or pressure the organizers to call it off…They can wait to a time the public opinion will swing.”
Update as of 6:40 a.m. EDT: Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong have demanded that Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying step down by Thursday, Associated Press, or AP, reported. Student leaders spearheading the protests have threatened to occupy key government buildings if he fails to do so, the report added.
Leaders of the pro-democracy movement have also expressed a desire to speak with Chinese officials, according to the report, which cited Lester Shum, vice secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, as saying at a news conference.
"However, we ask them to come to the square and speak to the masses," Shum reportedly said. "This is a movement of Hong Kongers and not led by any specific group."
Update as of 4:36 a.m. EDT: As fears of the use of police force against demonstrators on the occasion of National Day faded, thousands of people took the pro-democracy movement to various areas of the city, Reuters reported.
Earlier, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had sought to strike a conciliatory tone with demonstrators and called for a "peaceful, lawful, rational and pragmatic" resolution, while his detractors shouted, "We want real democracy," the report added.
Pro-democracy protests are expected to intensify as China celebrates its 65th National Day -- commemorating the founding of the People’s Republic of China -- on Wednesday, according to media reports.
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters thronged the streets of Hong Kong early on Wednesday even as the flag-raising ceremony was conducted at Bauhinia Square near the Hong Kong waterfront, South China Morning Post, or SCMP, reported. Hundreds of protesters, who had gathered to witness the ceremony, reportedly booed while the national anthem was being played.
“We are not celebrating the 65th anniversary of China. With the present political turmoil in Hong Kong and the continued persecution of human rights activists in China, I think today is not a day for celebrations but rather a day of sadness,” Oscar Lai, a spokesperson for the student group Scholarism, told Reuters.
Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-yin, who has been asked to resign by the protesters, reportedly asked Hong Kong to work “hand in hand” with Beijing to make the “Chinese dream come true.”
“It is understandable that different people may have different ideas about a desirable reform package, but it is definitely better to have universal suffrage than not," Leung reportedly said, in a speech delivered during the ceremony. “We hope that all sectors of the community will work with the government in a peaceful, lawful, rationally and pragmatic manner to... make a big step forward in our constitutional development.”
He, however, did not mention the ongoing protests in his speech or address the demands for him to step down. China's President Xi Jinping, too, in a speech delivered on Tuesday, remained silent about the protests.
Meanwhile, 13 people have been arrested in cities across China for supporting the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, SCMP reported, citing a human rights group named Chinese Human Rights Defenders.