The protesters are furious at the central government’s refusal to allow free elections for the city’s next leader in 2017, insisting that only two or three candidates vetted by a pro-Beijing committee will be permitted to stand.
They call this “fake democracy” and have two demands — that Leung step down and that Beijing reverse its decision.
Drone video of the protestors filling the streets:
Update: Q&A: On Hong Kong Demonstrations
Q: Why are thousands of people demonstrating in Hong Kong now?
Because when the former colonial master Britain handed Hong Kong over to China, the latter promised universal suffrage in the choice of their leader, or chief executive, and, under the formula of “One Country, Two Systems,” that their separate way of life would be respected.
China appears to have backtracked on both fronts, saying recently that Hong Kong people could only vote for their leader from among a handful of candidates picked by Beijing and beholden to the Communist Party. Hong Kong is a sophisticated financial center with a high GDP per capita, and its 6.8 million people know they can make their own political choices. Ultimately, of course, they are protesting because freedom is elemental to the human condition: we’re all born free and it’s only bad governments that check our liberties. Our instinct is to constantly break free.
But it will use force – as much as it deems necessary – to ensure stability, Zhang said.
“After all, it believes that political power grows out of the barrel of a gun, instead of elections,” he said. “It will return to this simplistic law of the jungle.”
An opinion piece that was briefly available on the news site of the nationalistic Chinese newspaper Global Times suggested Beijing send its military police, part of China’s armed forces, to help in “suppressing the riots.“