Protesters gather around the Golden Bauhinia Square before an official flag raising ceremony to commemorate the Chinese National Day in Hong Kong, Oct. 1, 2014. Reuters

A Hong Kong government official signaled that for the first time, the territory's leadership would be willing to meet with leaders from the protest movement that has embroiled the territory, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The official cautioned, however, that the government would call off the meeting if students insisted on the resignation of Leung Chun-ying, the territory's chief executive.

The official's comment emerged after the demonstration enlarged on Wednesday, as students and workers across the territory were off work for National Day. The Chinese government has urged its Hong Kong counterpart to wait out the protests and resolve the standoff "in a peaceful manner."

The protesters, initially comprised of student-led groups but now representing a broad cross-section of society, have called for Hong Kong to reverse a just-passed election law that limits candidates for the territory's chief executive to those vetted by Beijing. The Chinese government has explicitly rejected the protesters' demand for a "one person, one vote" electoral system. A strongly worded editorial in the People's Daily, a state-run newspaper, described Beijing's position on Hong Kong's elections as "unshakeable."