Hong Kong Protests Face Test of Stamina as City Returns to Work
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Hong Kong started to return to work on Monday after more than a week of pro-democracy protests disrupted the Chinese-controlled city, with the protest movement facing a test of its stamina after more clashes with police and pro-Beijing opponents.
Civil servants began arriving for work at the main government offices of Hong Kong's leader, Leung Chun-ying, which have been the focal point of protests that initially drew tens of thousands onto the streets. The bureaucrats were allowed to pass through protesters' barricades unimpeded.
Numbers of protesters fell sharply overnight into the hundreds. The protesters remained at a stalemate with Leung's pro-Beijing government and there was no sign of movement on talks that were proposed to end the stand-off.
The protests have ebbed and flowed over the past week, with people leaving the streets overnight to return later. The test on Monday will be whether that pattern continues in the face of the government's determination to get Hong Kong back to work.
Fearing a crackdown after city leaders called for the streets to be cleared so businesses, schools and the civil service could resume on Monday, protesters who have paralyzed parts of the former British colony with mass sit-ins pulled back from outside Leung's office, Reuters reported.
One civil servant, who gave her surname as Hung, said she had received notification she was to return to work as usual. "It's much better than earlier," she said.
Only about 100 protesters remained on the road leading into the Central business district but the road was still closed to traffic even though many had pulled back during the night. Heavy traffic was reported on other thoroughfares.
Over the past week, tens of thousands of protesters have demanded that Leung quit and that China allow them the right to vote for a leader of their choice in 2017 elections.