Hong Kong Tensions Spike as China Issues Ominous Warnings
Police warn of "serious consequences" if demonstrators occupy government buildings
Hong Kong's Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying refused to resign in a midnight press conference Thursday, saying the chief secretary of the territory, Carrie Lam, would open a dialogue with student leaders as soon as possible.
As a midnight deadline approached, tensions were pitched in Hong Kong, where a large and growing crowd of "Umbrella Revolution" protesters gathered around the main government offices. Activists had previously said they would occupy government buildings if their demands were not met.
Meanwhile, police officers were reportedly seen carrying containers of rubber bullets, tear gas and other riot-control gear into the buildings and authorities warned of "chaos" and "serious consequences" if protesters indeed tried to enter the complex.
Demonstrations have intensified all week, with protesters—led in large part by students—calling for free elections in Hong Kong, which has operated with more personal freedoms than the rest of China after the former British colony was turned over to China in 1997.
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