Hong Kong student leaders 'plan Beijing visit'

Pro-democracy protest leaders arrive for talks with Hong Kong authorities, aimed at ending weeks of rallies, on the same day the city"s leader ruled out democratic reforms, in Hong Kong on 21 October 2014. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hong Kong Federation of Students leader Alex Chow (L) plans to lead a small delegation to Beijing

Hong Kong student leaders say they are planning to visit Beijing this weekend and hope to meet Premier Li Keqiang.

However, Beijing has not commented and it remains unclear whether they would be allowed to enter.

Protesters have occupied key areas of Hong Kong for more than six weeks, demanding electoral reform.

This week, the chief secretary called on protesters to leave the sites and court rulings paved the way for the authorities to move in to clear them.

The secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students Alex Chow told reporters on Thursday night that he planned to travel to Beijing on Saturday, along with two other student leaders.

He said the trip "symbolises that Hongkongers are not afraid of Beijing's manipulation", in remarks reported by the South China Morning Post.

But he admitted he was not sure whether they would be stopped. He added that they would cancel the trip if police cleared protest sites in Admiralty and Mong Kok before they left.

On Tuesday, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam said there was "no need" for student leaders to go to Beijing if they were only going to repeat their demands.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption A few hundred people remain at three key protest sites in organised "tent cities"
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Carrie Lam met Mr Chow and other students in a televised dialogue in late October

She added that the authorities were "making plans for actions that need to be taken", and urged protesters to "voluntarily and peacefully leave... as soon as possible".

Hong Kong's High Court has granted extended injunctions allowing for the clearance of barricades at the Admiralty and Mong Kok sites, the Post reported.

Both Hong Kong and Beijing have called the street occupations illegal.

The Hong Kong protests drew tens of thousands to the streets at their peak.

A few hundred people remain at three key protest sites in organised "tent cities", complete with infrastructure such as food stalls, toilets and study areas.

Demonstrators are protesting against a decision by Beijing to screen candidates for the 2017 chief executive election, and are calling for the public's right to directly nominate candidates.

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