The embattled Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, who has refused demonstrators’ calls to resign, has appointed his deputy Carrie Lam to carry out negotiations with the leaders of the protest movement.
The groups of demonstrators however continued blocking the central government offices in Hong Kong's Admiralty district on Friday, the first working day after two-day public holidays.
A TASS correspondent reported from the scene that the protester numbers have dwindled, while certain groups of activists continue blocking the key streets in various parts of the city, disrupting the traffic.
In downtown Hong Kong, over 100 schools, as well as offices, shops and banks, have been closed. The Hang Seng Index declined sharply by more than 240 points at the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on Friday morning.
On October 2, the deadline set in an ultimatum delivered by leaders of the Hong Kong protest movement to the Chinese authorities, demanding the resignation of Chun-ying, expired. The massive protests, involving thousands of people, mainly Hong Kong citizens and students, entered their eighth day on Friday.The protesters demand democratic election in Hong Kong, a special administrative region, which was handed back to China by Britain in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula, guaranteeing it autonomy and freedom of speech.
China’s authorities have for the first time allowed the citizens of Hong Kong to have the right to elect the chief executive on condition that there are no more than three candidates and they need first to be approved by the nominating committee controlled by Beijing.
The opposition maintains that these restrictions do not allow pro-democracy candidates to participate in the elections. Chun-ying has argued that this is a step towards democracy.
The movement has been already labeled "the Umbrella Revolution" for the umbrellas that many people are holding to protect themselves from pepper spray and tear gas as well as to cope with oppressive heat.