The resignation of Hong Kong’s chief executive has emerged as the first and foremost demand of the protesters who have been on the streets all week.
On Thursday, some took position in front of CY Leung’s office, prompting police to form lines and barricade the road.
But this move, just around the corner from the main protest site, revealed some fractures within the mass movement. Some protesters said they would storm the building if Leung does not resign.
Albert Ho, a former leader of the Democratic Party, has been involved in the protests from the start. Sitting under a tent at the protest main site he said, “Young activists are getting impatient. They think the government has no sincerity to respond. So they will extend the scale of action. Irrespective of what further action they will take, there is a consensus among us that they would not use violence.”
Even if they don’t use violence, escalation could result in further arrests. “I think the Hong Kong government is too irresponsible. They never really respond to our demands at all. I agree that the actions should go a little bit further than what we are doing now,” said third-year university student Jesse Chuh.
Beijing is watching
There might be disagreements over tactics among protesters over how they move this forward. But one thing is for certain. Even though Beijing’s involvement has been minimal, they are watching what’s going on here very closely.
The Chinese Army Headquarters is right next to the office of the Chief Executive. Nearly all corners of the building have surveillance equipment.
A huge part of the retail and tourist revenues in Hong Kong come from tourists from mainland China.
Beijing has now banned mainland tour groups from going to Hong Kong. That’s 12,000 fewer tourists a day – not spending money.
But one Chinese still here told us, “I find Hong Kong people self-motivated. The people on the mainland don’t have the will for this kind of movement.”
A will Beijing is hoping won’t move to the mainland and spread.