Protesters in Hong Kong to Vote on Government Proposals
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong say they will hold a straw poll on government proposals they had rejected earlier in the week as the campaign in the Chinese-controlled city entered the fifth week on Friday.
With crowds likely to swell at the weekend, student leaders late on Thursday announced a plan for an electronic poll of protesters on reform proposals tabled by senior city government officials in talks on Tuesday that failed to break the deadlock.
"The government always says that the students don't represent the people in the plaza and Hong Kong citizens, so we are here to make all our voices heard and we will tell the government clearly what we think," Alex Chow, one of the students guiding the movement, told protesters late on Thursday.
Demonstrators would be asked whether the government's offer to submit a report to China's State Council, or cabinet, on the Occupy protests that have roiled Hong Kong, would have any practical purpose, with a bid to collating these responses to strengthen their bargaining position.
Friday marks the start of the fifth week since tens of thousands began blocking major roads to oppose to a plan by the Chinese central government to let Hong Kong people vote for their leader in 2017 for the first time but limit candidates to those vetted by a panel stacked with Beijing loyalists, Reuters reported.
The United Nations Human Rights Committee on Thursday gave a boost to the protest movement by calling on China to ensure universal suffrage in Hong Kong, including the right to stand for election as well as the right to vote. Committee members voiced concerns about the right to stand without unreasonable restrictions, chiming with protester demands for civil nominations for the 2017 poll.
A chasm exists between the government and the protesters who have been calling for open nominations in 2017 and for the current leader, Leung Chun-ying, to step down. The government branded the movement's occupation of streets illegal and has repeatedly said open nominations are not allowed under the laws of the former British colony.
The talks on Tuesday marked a shift in the government's approach from stonewalling to dialogue, although expectations for a breakthrough had been low.