Student protest leaders from Hong Kong say they will fly to Beijing on Saturday to ask officials to grant "greater democracy" in the territory, as demonstrators await the court-approved clearing of sitesç SİA reports quoting the AA.
The Hong Kong Federation of Students said late Thursday that its Secretary General Alex Chow would travel to the Chinese capital with lieutenants Eason Chung and Nathan Law in the hope of an audience with Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
Bernard Chan, a pro-government Hong Kong politician, said Friday that the student leaders should not even bother making the journey, public broadcaster RTHK reported, as he believed officials were already aware of their aspirations.
Analysts have indicated the students could be refused entry to mainland China upon arrival. In the past, China has refused entry to activists or academics seen to disagree with state policy.
Meanwhile, local media have speculated that clearance action to enforce injunctions could start as early as Saturday.
On Thursday, Hong Kong’s High Court refused to hear an appeal by protesters against injunctions to clear some occupied areas after their lawyers said it was wrong for the court to address a question of public order by way of civil litigation.
Groups representing taxi and bus drivers had sought the injunctions.
The court earlier this week ordered bailiffs to enforce the injunctions to dismantle barricades at protest sites in two locations, and police have been authorized to remove or arrest anyone who tries to obstruct them.
Separately, a subset of protesters, labeled as “radical” by some, has threatened to occupy the British consulate Friday. They are angry at what they say is London's lack of support for their movement, and say China has breached the Sino-British Joint Declaration, signed by London and Beijing in 1984, and demand Britain respond.
China rules Hong Kong under a "one country, two systems" formula that allows some autonomy and freedoms not enjoyed in mainland China.
Beijing said in August that only candidates screened by a nominating committee would be able to contest a citywide vote to choose its next chief executive in 2017.
While around 100,000 had taken to the streets at the protest's peak, numbers have fallen – though a group of determined protesters means it rarely drops below several hundred.
The protests, in their seventh week, are seen as the biggest challenge to Beijing's grip on Hong Kong since the handover in 1997.