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Hong Kong Protests Swell On China's National Day

Even as China celebrates a major holiday, protests in Hong Kong continue to grow with calls for its chief executive to resign by Wednesday.
Posted at 9:32 AM, Oct 01, 2014

Even as China celebrates a major national holiday, Hong Kong’s so-called “Umbrella Revolution” continues to grow. Thousands more protesters lent their voices to the cause Wednesday

ANDREW STEVENS VIA CNN: “Day four now on this protest and easily the biggest turnout. Because it’s a public holiday today, a lot of regular Hong Kongers have come out to join the students.”

But Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed chief executive, CY Leung, appears set on continuing with the same strategy he has used so far — ignoring them.

Protest leaders told Leung he has until the end of Wednesday to meet their demands for voting reforms or resign. So far, he’s shown no signs he plans to step down.

The protesters are angry over a recent decision from Chinese authorities requiring candidates for the top job in Hong Kong first be pre-screened by a Beijing-approved nominating committee.

A group of protesters including Joshua Wong, one of the student leaders of the protests, appeared at the ceremony and symbolically turned their backs with their arms crossed as the flag was raised.

There’s also reportedly a more relaxed police presence amongst the protestors, something that stands in stark contrast to Sunday night’s tear gas and pepper spray.

In response that police crackdown, protester numbers swelled — which may explain why Beijing has now reduced the number of police on the streets. Besides, Chinese authorities want to avoid conjuring up memories of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.

But The New York Times notes Chinese and Hong Kong authorities may be using another strategy — waiting them out. By simply waiting, officials hope protesters will either have to spread out and risk losing their momentum or get violent, which would allow for a heavier police response.

Authorities in mainland China, where coverage of the protests is being censored, are maintaining that the protests are illegal. According to USA Today, Beijing’s top official in Hong Kong dismissed the protests, simply saying “The sun rises as usual.”

This video contains images from Getty Images and music from Podington Bear / CC BY NC 3.0.