Hong Kong Leader Hopes for Fresh Talks after Night of Clashes
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying sought to defuse tension with pro-democracy protesters on Thursday, saying he hopes the two sides can talk next week, but anger over police violence and continued street scuffles suggest the students are not about to give up.
Leung was speaking after more than two weeks of protests that have paralyzed parts of the city and grabbed global headlines amid scenes of violent clashes and tear gas rising between some of the world's most valuable office buildings.
The protesters are demanding free elections for their leader in 2017, but Beijing insists on screening candidates first and Leung reiterated that the government was unwilling to compromise, Reuters reported.
"We don't find civil nomination in all Western democracies either," Leung said when a reporter challenged him on how the talks could progress when he was ruling out any changes to the electoral framework.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam canceled talks with student leaders earlier this month, saying it was impossible to have constructive dialogue.
Leung spoke as posters depicting him as a fanged wolf, a gang boss and Hitler stared down from the walls of government headquarters and the Legislative Council building in Admiralty, next to the Central business district, the epicenter of the protest movement against him.
In the early hours of Thursday, police used pepper spray to stop protesters from blocking a major road near Leung's office amid public anger over the police beating and kicking, captured on video, of a protester a day earlier.
At police headquarters in the entertainment district of Wan Chai, hundreds of people gathered outside to express outrage at the beating, with dozens queuing to lodge formal complaints.
Authorities on Wednesday said the officer involved in the beating of Ken Tsang Kin-chiu, a member of the pro-democracy Civic Party, would be suspended.
Footage of the beating has gone viral and injected fresh momentum into the protest that had been flagging after nearly three weeks of demonstrations.