Hong Kong protesters scrap planned referendum

Activists cancel 'street vote' to decide future of month-long demonstrations for greater democracy in Chinese territory.

    Protesters are demanding open nominations for chief executive in the city's inaugural direct election [Getty]
    Protesters are demanding open nominations for chief executive in the city's inaugural direct election [Getty]

    The organisers of Hong Kong's pro-democracy protests have canceled a vote on what the next step should be in their month long street occupation, saying they hadn't properly consulted with the public before calling the referendum.

    The two-day vote, which had been scheduled for Sunday and Monday, was supposed to have asked the protesters about counterproposals to an offer made by Hong Kong's government following last week's talks between student protest leaders and authorities. 

    We admit that we did not have enough discussion with the people before
    deciding to go ahead with the vote and we apologize to the people.

    Protest organisers

    The government offered to submit a report to Beijing noting the protesters' unhappiness with a decision to have an appointed committee screen candidates for the semi-autonomous city's leader, known as the chief executive.

    Protesters are demanding open nominations for chief executive in 
    the city's inaugural direct election promised to be held in 2017.

    "We admit that we did not have enough discussion with the people before 
    deciding to go ahead with the vote and we apologise to the people,'' the organisers said in a statement.

    Two student groups - the Hong Kong Federation of Students and Scholarism and the activist group Occupy Central With Peace and Love had called for the referendum on Friday.

    Organisers bowed in apology for disappointing supporters of a movement that has come to be known as the "umbrella revolution", after the umbrellas wielded by demonstrators in the face of police tear gas.

    "There have been a lot of conflicts and different opinions," student leader Alex Chow told reporters.

    Organisers refused to be drawn on the nature of the disagreements, but Chow said there had been concerns over how to verify that only protesters took part in the vote, amid worries that opponents might try to hijack the process.

    The vote had been due to take place at the three protest camps that have 
    sprung up across Hong Kong. It would have asked demonstrators how to respond to conciliatory measures offered by Hong Kong's government.

    The government made tentative concessions during talks last Tuesday, offering to file a report to Beijing about recent events and suggesting that both sides set up a committee to discuss further political reform beyond 2017.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Explore how your country voted on global issues since 1946, as the world gears up for the 74th UN General Assembly.

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.