Following canceled talks with the government, Hong Kong's student protest leaders are calling for a new rally tonight at 7.30 in Harcourt Road, now dubbed as "The Umbrella Square," reports the South China Morning Post.
The government had scrapped negotiations with students a day before they were scheduled to take place, saying it was unacceptable that protesters were using the occasion to incite more people to join the mass sit-in.
"With much regret, [after] the remarks made by student representatives in the past two days, especially this afternoon, I realise that the basis for a constructive dialogue has been seriously undermined," said Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor.
Before Lam's announcement, protesters said they would escalate their disobedience if the government failed to make "substantial responses" to their demands, such as the withdrawal of Beijing's restrictive framework for universal suffrage and the resignation of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.
Lam said the while government remained open to dialogue, it would not accept protest leaders using the public interest as a bargaining chip by linking the dialogue results to their decision on retreating from protest sites. For talks to convene, the students would have to accept the Beijing decision and stop promoting protests, she said
Federation of Students secretary general Alex Chow Yong-kang said that Lam had used the students' remarks as "excuses" to call off the dialogue. He said the group’s demands were “totally reasonable.”
Meanwhile, a signature campaign has been launched to urge the government and student representatives to start talking as soon as possible. Signatories include former civil service secretary Joseph Wong Wing-ping and barrister Edward Chan King-sang, according to the Post.
Meanwhile, pro-democracy lawmaker Alan Leong, speaking at a news conference with the leaders of the three main protest groups, called for “a new era of noncooperation.”