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Fresh crisis in Hong Kong as talks collapse; protesters vow to fight on

Crunch talks between Hong Kong democracy protesters and the government were called off on Thursday.

It comes just hours after demonstrators vowed to ratchet up their occupation of key parts of the city if their demands were not met.

The collapse of the talks, which were due to take place on Friday, plunges the vital financial hub into fresh crisis.

Protesters are refusing to retreat from their barricades and an equally intransigent government has rejected further negotiations. 

Although protester numbers have dwindled in recent days, small groups still control multiple intersections across the city in what has become the most concerted challenge to Beijing’s rule since Hong Kong’s handover in 1997.

Hopes of a breakthrough were dashed on Thursday evening as Chief Secretary Carrie Lam announced that the government was pulling out of talks with the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS), one of the leading protest groups. 

“The basis for constructive dialogue has been undermined. It’s impossible to have a constructive meeting tomorrow,” she said.

 A runner jogs along a street blocked by pro-democracy protesters at Causeway Bay area on Thursday.

A runner jogs along a street blocked by pro-democracy protesters at Causeway Bay area on Thursday.

Two and a half hours earlier a coalition of pro-democracy leaders had gathered at the main protest site and vowed to increase their civil disobedience campaign if the talks broke down.

“Hong Kong people will not retreat. And there’s no reason for anyone to ask us to retreat. Therefore the Occupy movement must be ongoing,” HKFS president Alex Chow told the crowd. 

“Also the students will go into different Occupy areas,” to discuss potential future plans for further civil disobedience, he added.

Source: AFP

 

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