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Hong Kong Leader Ignores Protesters' Calls To Resign


It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.


And I'm Robert Siegel. It's been a tense day in Hong Kong. Protesters set a deadline, demanding that Hong Kong's top leader resign. As the deadline approached, the chief executive refused, but he did offer to negotiate with protest leaders.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn sent this story from Hong Kong.

ANTHONY KUHN, BYLINE: Protesters blocking government offices listen by radio as Chief Executive C Y Leung addressed reporters. Leung did not promise the free nominations for his successor the protesters want, nor did he offer to step down. But, he said the government is willing to initiate a dialogue.


CHIEF EXECUTIVE C Y LEUNG: I'm now appointing the chief secretary to meet with the Hong Kong federation of students to discuss constitutional development matters.

KUHN: Outside, the protesters were not impressed.

GULLIVER LEE: What he said is nothing new. It's nothing new. There's no encouragement to the whole movement.

KUHN: IT worker Gulliver Lee (ph) said he was concerned that police might now try to clear away the crowds blocking government offices.

LEE: I am wearing goggles and I'm wearing mask and we are afraid of the tear gas and the rubber bullets because we are peaceful. We are peaceful, but the police may use some force to force us away.

KUHN: Tension seemed to build until all of a sudden, pandemonium erupted in the middle of the road outside the government offices. A scrum of reporters rushed into the road as protesters tried desperately to haul everyone back.

Teacher Jennifer Locke (ph) explained to me what just happened.

JENNIFER LOCKE: Someone - a man - ran out to the middle of the street, ran to the middle of the highway and tried to block the road by lying down, rolling around. And then, all the reporters just rushed out to like, capture the moment and others civilians are trying to like, pull people back so we wouldn't provoke other individuals.

KUHN: Once again, it appears that the protesters policed themselves so that the police didn't have to. Protesters then settled down to maintain their vigil through the night. Anthony Kuhn, NPR News, Hong Kong. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Anthony Kuhn is NPR's correspondent based in Seoul, South Korea, reporting on the Korean Peninsula, Japan, and the great diversity of Asia's countries and cultures. Before moving to Seoul in 2018, he traveled to the region to cover major stories including the North Korean nuclear crisis and the Fukushima earthquake and nuclear disaster.