Amid growing calls for his resignation, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying asked pro-democracy demonstrators thronging the streets of the city to end their protests immediately, according to media reports Tuesday.
“Occupy Central founders had said repeatedly that if the movement is getting out of control, they would call for it to stop. I'm now asking them to fulfill the promise they made to society, and stop this campaign immediately,” Leung reportedly said, in his first comments since Sunday’s clashes between protesters and baton-wielding police.
He also said that the protesters should consider the impact of the movement on the lives of Hong Kong residents, “as well as the cost on international image,” according to a BBC report.
However, leaders of the Occupy Central group -- the main organizers of what’s been dubbed as the “Umbrella Revolution” -- rejected Leung’s demands and reiterated their call for his resignation, Agence France-Presse, or AFP, reported.
“If Leung Chun-ying announces his resignation, this occupation will be at least temporarily stopped in a short period of time, and we will decide on the next move,” Chan Kin-man, the co-founder of Occupy Central, reportedly said.
The group also said it will announce plans for its next stage of civil disobedience on Wednesday, which is celebrated as National Day across China, if Leung does not meet their demands and resign from his post.
Leung, on the other hand, reportedly said that Beijing will not be “coerced into submission” by the “illegal actions” of the protesters.
Meanwhile, schools in some districts of Hong Kong remained closed on Tuesday because of safety concerns, as huge crowds continued to assemble in the streets. Public transport was also affected as dozens of buses were canceled and some subway stations near the protest areas were closed, according to media reports.