Hong Kong Protesters Issue Ultimatum: Reform Or Resign

Occupy Central leaders have set a Wednesday deadline for Hong Kong's leader, Leung Chun-ying, to resign or meet their demands.

Hong Kong Protesters Issue Ultimatum: Reform Or Resign
Getty Images / Chris McGrath

Occupy Central leaders have issued an ultimatum to Hong Kong's leader: back our demands for voting reform or resign. 

If Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying doesn’t step down by Wednesday, protest organizers say they’ll "announce new civil disobedience plans.” 

For his part, the Beijing-backed politician appears to have no plans to do so, instead calling for an immediate end to the protests. (Video via BBC

The Wednesday deadline coincides with China’s National Day — a major country-wide holiday marking the founding of the People’s Republic of China 65 years ago. The timing is no coincidence —  organizers say they expect protesters with the day off work to come out in greater numbers that day.

This aerial footage captures the sheer scale of the protests, now in their fourth day. The tens of thousands of demonstrators occupying Hong Kong’s business district have so far refused to back down, despite police firing tear gas and pepper spray. (Video via Apple Daily)

The demonstrators are now using umbrellas and goggles to protect themselves.

At the heart of the protests is the issue of free and fair elections in Hong Kong. When Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997, Chinese authorities promised Hong Kong it would be able to elect its own leader by 2017. (Video via YouTube / sasalove2a1

But Beijing dashed those hopes last month when it announced candidates for that election will first have to go through a Beijing-approved nominating committee.

The movement puts Chinese authorities, in particular President Xi Jinping, in a dilemma. 

The Wall Street Journal boils down his options: “Modify the proposed formula for Hong Kong's election system and appear weak, or dislodge the protesters with force and risk conjuring memories of Beijing's bloody 1989 pro-democracy crackdown in Tiananmen Square.”

So far, Chinese authorities said little publicly, short of calling the protests "illegal." Clashes with police have resulted in nearly 80 arrests and 40 injuries.

This video includes images from Getty Images.