Talks between pro-democracy students and government officials to be held this Friday

Talks between pro-democracy students and government officials to be held this Friday

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Protesters eat breakfast outside the Central Government Offices.
Protesters eat breakfast outside the Central Government Offices.

Students at the forefront of the pro-democracy protests have agreed to hold talks with top government officials on Friday afternoon.

The agreement was reached after preliminary talks between the Hong Kong Federation of Students and Undersecretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Lau Kong-wah.

Lau said Secretary for Justice Rimsky Yuen Kwok-keung and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Raymond Tam Chi-yuen would join Chief Secretary Carrie Lam at the talks, which are scheduled to start at 4pm on Friday. Media coverage will be allowed, though the meeting will be closed to the public. The venue for the meeting is yet to be decided.

Despite the talks, Federation of Students' deputy leader Lester Shum said the protests would continue until there were clear signs of progress.

Shum also warned that the dialogue would end if the government took action to clear the protest sites or failed to guarantee the safety of the demonstrators, who are demanding a reversal of Beijing's decision to impose a restrictive framework for the 2017 chief executive election. They also want Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to resign, a move that Leung has repeatedly ruled out.

Shum was disappointed that the agenda for Friday's meeting would not directly address their core demands: genuine universal suffrage and public nomination of chief executive candidates.

Joshua Wong Chi-Fung, convenor of student activist group Scholarism, which along with Occupy Central and the Federation of Students is one of the main organisers of the protests, called on members of the public to gather at Harcourt Road, near the government headquarters in Admiralty, on Friday afternoon to support the students attending the dialogue with officials.

Check out our "Humans of Occupy Central" galleries to see who are on the streets and their reasons for being there.

Ten days after the civil disobedience action began, the city is recovering gradually. But, meanwhile, hunger striker Benny Mok Siu-man has decided not to turn himself in to police today as planned to mark the end of his strike and surrender to police for illegally occupying the road as a symbolic act. He's since reconsidered, saying he wanted to “occupy people's hearts" and awaken Hongkongers to the need for democracy.

Classes resumed at all primary schools in Wan Chai and Central and Western yesterday, a day after lessons at secondary schools in both districts restarted. But kindergartens remain closed.

Protest sites in Mong Kok and Causeway Bay were largely calm.

 

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