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People watch as pro-democracy demonstrators gather for a Saturday night rally in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has been plunged into its most serious political crisis since its 1997 handover. (Philippe Lopez/AFP)

Hong Kong Protesters Defiant After Government Threatens Crackdown by Monday

Common Dreams staff

"Umbrella Revolution" protesters in Hong Kong held their largest rally yet Saturday night, a defiant show of force following a threat by Hong Kong's chief executive that he would "clear the streets" by Monday morning.

Live streaming coverage here...

The chief executive of Hong Kong, Leung Chun-ying, said in a televised address that all entrances to government headquarters would be cleared by Monday. He said the conflict  would be “very likely to keep getting out of hand.” He accused the Occupy movement of seriously impacting average Hong Konger’s lives, incomes and public services.

Chun-ying said “all actions necessary” would be taken to clear the streets of the pro-democracy protests. Police used tear gas in a failed attempt to break up the protest last week.

“Even after all these incidents, it shows that the more they suppress us, the more we will fight,” student leader Joshua Wong told Saturday night's rally.

“We know that every time they assault us, we resist harder,” Alex Chow Yong Kang, the secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, told the crowd. “And we know we’re on the right path, otherwise the government wouldn’t have been so afraid of us.”.

Former Democratic party legislator, Law Chi-kwong, warned that the protesters that this is a "very dangerous situation" and they should be prepared for attempts to disperse them. He told the South China Morning Post the government might act “no later than tomorrow, or even earlier.”

The Guardian reported:

The mass movement was sparked by Beijing’s plans to maintain tight control over the election of the next chief executive in 2017. The government says the introduction of universal suffrage is a step forward, but protesters complain they have been cheated and are being given only “fake” democracy because Beijing will determine the nominations.

Student demonstrators and supporters of a broader civil disobedience campaign gained wider support after police used teargas and pepper spray in failed attempts to disperse them last weekend. Others in the city have complained about the inconvenience the protesters have caused. Many Mong Kok residents criticised the disruption caused to their lives by the occupation of a busy crossroads.

But a demonstrator, Lavine Ho, a 26-year-old hospital worker, said: “People should understand what students are fighting for: for our future and democracy. That affects all of us.”

On Saturday, People’s Daily, the Chinese Communist Party’s main newspaper, wrote that the Occupy movement was part of an effort to subvert its power across all of China, and likened the movement to a “color revolution,” the party’s phrase for anti-Communist insurrections across the former Soviet bloc and beyond. “As for the ideas of a very small minority of people to use Hong Kong to create a ‘color revolution’ in mainland China, that is even more of a daydream,” the paper said in a commentary on its front page.

Follow the developments here:

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