Hong Kong protests: Occupy Central leaders surrender to police to jeers from pro-Beijing protesters

While students staging a hunger strike have written an open letter to Chief Executive Leung Chunying demanding more talks

Three men who sparked the city occupations which have rocked Hong Kong since late September handed themselves over to police today.

Benny Tai, Chan Kin-man and Reverend Chu Yiu-min were greeted with jeers from pro-Beijing protesters at the police station in the Sheung Wan district. The three were leaders of Occupy Central with Love and Peace, the campaign group which played a pivotal role in spawning the protests, but has since renounced any formal leadership.

Mr Tai, who is also an Associate Professor of Law at Hong Kong University, said: “We urge the occupation to end soon and more citizens will carry out the basic responsibility of civil disobedience, which is to surrender.”

Both the Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism groups, who are also involved in the protest, have rejected the call for a retreat.

The 18-year-old convenor of Scholarism, Joshua Wong, started a hunger strike this week, alongside colleagues Prince Wong and Isabella Lo. Today the three penned an open letter to Leung Chunying, the city’s Chief Executive.

 

Protesters are demanding freedom to nominate their own candidates in elections to choose Mr Leung’s successor in 2017. China, with whom the decision ultimately lies, have so far stonewalled their calls.

The open letter accused Mr Leung of relying on an “autocratic and exploitative political system, with violent police bureaucracy”. It went on: “Society will see who are the cruel and inhuman perpetrators, and who are the adorable dream-seekers.

“As the Chief Executive, you are not allowed to shirk your responsibility. Please agree to talk to us again.”

Even Jimmy Lai, a local media tycoon and supporter of the protests, has voiced concern over the demonstrations losing momentum, and called for them to end. He said: “If (the protest) keeps dragging on, it will wear down (the protesters’) willpower, which is exactly what Beijing wants.”

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