WATCH: Thousands of protesters poured into a main road in Hong Kong for a pro-democracy rally late Friday, reviving a civil disobedience movement a day after the government called off talks with student leaders.
HONG KONG – Talks between the Hong Kong government and student leaders of a democracy protest that has blocked main roads in the Asian financial hub for nearly two weeks are cancelled because they’re unlikely to be constructive, a senior government official said Thursday.
Chief Secretary Carrie Lam said the talks scheduled for Friday will not go ahead because they have been “seriously undermined” by remarks from the student leaders.
Her announcement came hours after student leaders called for supporters to redouble their efforts to occupy the main protest zone – a highway outside government headquarters that they’re now dubbing “Umbrella Square.”
Umbrellas used to combat police pepper spray and tear gas have become a symbol of the nonviolent movement.
Student leaders had vowed earlier Thursday not to retreat even as the number of protesters occupying the main thoroughfare and streets in two other districts across the former British colony has dwindled sharply this week. Pro-democracy lawmakers, who so far haven’t played much of a role in the protest movement, said they would join in by blocking all government funding requests in the legislature except for the most urgent.
“I truly regret that we will not be able to have a meeting tomorrow which will produce any constructive outcome,” Lam said.