Occupy Central

OCCUPY CENTRAL - NIGHT FOUR: Full coverage of all the night's events

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 October, 2014, 7:42pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 October, 2014, 2:04pm

Welcome to day five of our live Occupy Central coverage. Protests are expected to ramp up a gear today after student leaders set Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying a deadline of Thursday evening to resign before they start occupying government buildings.

So far, Leung has refused to budge, raising a toast with mainland officials at the National Day flag-raising ceremony yesterday morning against a backdrop of jeering protesters outside.

Stay tuned for all the latest breaking news throughout the day.





8.20am Causeway Bay: Barely 300 protesters remain at the protest camp in Causeway Bay, after thousands attended demonstrations last night along a 600-metre stretch of Hennessy Road between Canal Road East and Pennington Street. It exposes the Causeway Bay camp to a takeover if police decide to re-occupy the popular shopping district. So far, no police officers have been spotted in the area.

"I understand that if the police come rushing towards the barricades I can do nothing. All I can do is tell people back there [at Sogo] to help reinforce the barriers," said one protester named K, guarding a two-carriage barrier at Canal Road East, who preferred not to be identified. K, who described his role as a "scout" to spot oncoming police, said if protesters couldn't hold their ground, they would retreat if necessary to keep the Causeway Bay camp intact. "There will be a feeling all day that the police will come," he said.

7.55am Admiralty: Protesters rise after another night on the streets of Admiralty. The focus of today's protests will be the chief executive's offices in Tamar, as pressure mounts ahead of a deadline for an ultimatum on Thursday evening set by student leaders for the chief executive to resign. Ranny Law and Jonathan Lai, both aged 32 and friends since primary school, say they will continue to occupy the protest site, knowing that the government strategy is to wait for the movement to die a natural death. "We will stay until the government addresses us," Law, who works in banking, said. "On Friday I'll have to go to work but will definitely come back on the weekend."

7.25am Tsim Sha Tsui: The crowd has been shrinking since dawn broke and there are now only about 50 people left at the protest site in Tsim Sha Tsui. Helen Wong, a form six student, said she was worried that the occupation zone could be shut down if police decided to take action. "If the police come in now, it would be easy to end this." Wong said.

She said she believed that some people only left the area to go for breakfast and would return soon. Meanwhile, a man shouted at protesters as he rode along Canton Road on his bicycle, apparently distributing newspapers. "Hey, go to the mainland to lay siege to the National People's Congress, and President Xi! Why stay here?" he shouted. "Why don't you go to the mainland," one protester retorted.

7.05am Admiralty: The conflict that broke out in Admiralty floats a problem in the ongoing sit-in. After the four people who claimed to be Occupy Central marshals attempted to take away a few barricades, several protesters said there was no need to have marshals at all as the sit-in was initiated by the people. "I don't think we should treat the marshal team of Occupy Central as the authorities. We have no organisers and we should only treat them as normal people," one woman said.

Another man also said the movement should not be "hijacked by Occupy Central". A middle-aged man, earlier identified as Chan To-wai and who claimed to be a marshal, said they wanted to take away some barricades at Tim Mei Avenue to clear public access and facilitate the delivery of supplies. "We saw lots of people dangerously climb over the barricades when Tim Mei Avenue was completely blocked," Chan said.

6.55am Causeway Bay: Protestors mill around the tram tracks after staying up for much of the night without sleep, as the sun and temperature rises. Around them, a clean-up operation begins.

6.50am Admiralty: As day dawned, Professor Joseph Lian Yi-zheng, former member of the government's Central Policy Unit, left Tamar park after talking to student protesters throughout the night. The renowned commentator, who has visited the Tamar crowd for two nights, said the solution to break the stalemate was for Beijing to make a compromise. He said the spread of the Occupy sit-ins was "a good thing".

"It's good that the Occupy founders don't take a top-down approach. The self-led protesters have made it difficult for the government to tackle [them]. Whether Leung Chun-ying resigns or not is not his decision to make - it is Beijing's," he said. "Public opinion is clear and we already have some ready-made proposals from the civil society. Public nomination has to be given," Lian added.

6.25am Mong Kok: A volunteer worker, overwhelmed by a night-long hosting of a public forum at the sit-in in Mong Kok, takes a nap as dawn breaks.

6.10am Admiralty:The group who cut plastic cords that tied metal barriers together on on Tim Mei Avenue are seen wearing vests that bear the Occupy Central logo. One of the group's members, Chan Tor-wai, claimed they are authorised marshals from the Occupy movement.

"We received complaints that the barriers were blocking protesters access to Tim Mei Avenue," said Chan. "When police showed no sign of returning tonight, we decided that the barriers were standing in the way of people and logistics flow," he added. The group returned to a booth next to Occupy's stage after police escorted them away from the crowd. Chan Tor-wai is on the left.

6.00am Morning call in Tsim Sha Tsui: A plain-clothed policewoman, accompanied by seven other plain-clothed police, called on protesters to clear the road via loudhailer.

"Good morning everyone. We have heard your demands. We are coming to communicate with you, and hope that ... you can make space to cater for residents' needs and minimise [inconvenience]." In the absence of a response from the protesters, the eight soon left the scene. 

5.50am Admiralty: A group of people attempt to break through barricades on Tim Mei Avenue. Some protesters and a marshal are trying to resolve the conflict, urging people to remain calm and asking them to stop removing cordons. Police officers arrive at the scene.

5.40am Causeway Bay: A woman removes yellow ribbons from fences and says she is planning to cut down banners from lamp posts. She says she is against the Occupy campaign and feels the protests have affected residents' livelihoods.

5.30am: At one end of Tim Wa Avenue near the chief executive's office, the situation is relaxed as a plain-clothed police officers chat with protesters, answering their questions about the use of tear gas. "We have rules about tear gas. I was trained that way during my early days of joining the force," one police officer said. "I have my own duties and there are lots of rules to follow."

Another officer said: "I know some protesters were swearing at my uniform, not myself as a person." Some protesters showed understanding of the police's duty to execute orders and acknowledged that the use of tear gas was not a frontline decision. "I hope you can tell your colleagues that we are peaceful and please don't be hostile to us," one protester said. But a couple of activists, appearing not satisfied with the answer, walked away from the conversation.

5.20am: Vice-chairman of the League of Social Democrats Avery Ng Man-yuen, who is currently in London, told the Post that over 3,000 people joined a rally today outside the Chinese embassy in the British capital. "It was totally unexpected. When we first hosted a rally at Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in London last Saturday to protest against Beijing's framework on reform, only 300 people attended," he said.

"Many participants feel like this is the only thing they could do for the students [thousands of] miles away." Protesters were concerned whether the police would use tear gas to disperse the crowds in Hong Kong again, Ng said, adding that many demonstrators in London carried umbrellas at the rally in support of Hong Kong's "umbrella" democracy movement.

Ng, a veteran activist, also joked that there was a "big difference" between London police and the ones in Hong Kong. "Only a dozen policemen are here, despite the thousands-strong crowd," he said.

5.00am Admiralty: Although the government and Beijing-loyalists have repeatedly warned that ongoing protests could harm the city's economy, it seems to be a case otherwise - at least for McDonald's. The fast food chain, the only eatery operating around-the-clock in Admiralty, has consistently attracted long queues even at in the small hours of the morning. But many protesters have been disappointed to find that most meals are sold out - leaving a rather limited choice.

4.50am Tsim Sha Tsui: While most protesters pass the night sleeping or chatting with friends, Shue Yan University English student Chan (who declined to give his first name) prefers to spend the time reading Henry David Thoreau's Walden and Civil Disobedience. "This is my fourth night sitting-in. I think coming out allows me to have more time to read. I could read at school, in the library or at home during the day - but it's easy to get distracted by the internet." Chan said he was critical of Beijing for imposing restrictions on Hong Kong political reform. "Genuine universal suffrage is my priority."

4.35am A group of seemingly drunk Putonghua-speakers poured into Hennessy Road, shouting and swearing at protesters, many of whom were sleeping. When asked to keep their voices down by one napping SCMP reporter, the group swore at him, telling him to "mind his business".

4.25am Admiralty: Most of the protesters camping out overnight in Tamar are youngsters, but among them is Johnson Yeung Chi-ho, his wife and his 11-year-old daughter, who have remained at the Admiralty protest site since 11am yesterday. "My daughter asked me and my wife to stay here and see what is happening," the father, 51, said.

"This is the moment to learn from real life. Textbook knowledge - you can always set this aside for a few weeks or even a few years." Yeung has been a staunch supporter of Occupy Central, and was arrested for taking part in the Occupy Chater Road sit-in on July 2.

4.10am London: Protests continue in London in a positive mood, with many passerbys attracted by the crowd and joining the sit-in. Many people are wearing black and yellow and carrying umbrellas. Chants of "No fake democracy" and "Real democracy now" are heard.

3.50am Causeway Bay: Volunteers hoist placards on Hennessy Road, Causeway Bay, with directions to a free rest area at The Vine church on Wan Chai Road. Medical care, hot drinks and toilet facilities are available, volunteers say.

3.40am Tsim Sha Tsui: A "message area" on Canton Road shows support for protesters from Mexico, Taiwan, India, the Philippines, Japan and other countries.

3.30am Causeway Bay: The crowd has rolled back in Causeway Bay to just a few hundred protesters. The rain stirred people to take cover while many left to head home. Many who remain are half asleep. The crowds in Mong Kok shrank significantly over the past two hours due to fatigue and rain.

3.10am Tsim Sha Tsui: About 130 people are still gathered on Canton Road, most of them either chatting or sleeping on the ground. A group of six young people in their twenties said they were moving to [the government offices in] Tamar. "We came here mainly to spread the message to tourists, but now it's more meaningful to stay in Admiralty," said a young man who refused to give his name. For some other people, it was time to call it a night. Jenny Lee and her husband joined the protest at about 9pm on Wednesday to support their daughter, a university graduate. "We're going home, because we're too tired," Lee said. "But this will be a long battle, because we are fighting the Communist Party."

On CY Leung's refusal to step down, Lee said: "He will step down for sure... Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa also refused to step down, initially, but in the end he did in 2005."

2.45am London: Up to 3,000 protesters are demonstrating outside the Chinese embassy in London to show support for the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement, in potentially one of the largest organised demonstrations outside of Hong Kong to date. The alliance says their protest is part of a global campaign to support the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement push for universal suffrage.

During speeches, the London protesters issued a list of demands to the Hong Kong government, starting with the resignation of Chief Executive CY Leung. They called on the National People’s Congress to repeal its demands for “Chinese characteristics” in universal suffrage. They also demanded that new proposals for democracy in Hong Kong be drafted and called for civic nominations to be instated.

Among the estimated 3,000-strong crowd, two students staged a 24-hour hunger strike. Protesters in London told the Post that the sheer volume of people outside the embassy meant that speakers could not be seen or heard by protesters in the middle or back of the crowd. "What's happening in Hong Kong is no longer just our business, it's now a matter for the world," one speaker said. 

2.30am Admiralty: Alex Chow Yong-kang, head of the Federation of Students that had also called on protesters to gather outside the chief executive's office. Chow vowed to continue occupying the exits to Central Government Office until October 3 if CY Leung refused step down. "This side of the government headquarters is strategic because it will seal off the access for police reinforcements," Chow said. He also said students would besiege more government department buildings in an escalation of their civil disobedience movement.

2.15am Admiralty: Four trucks bearing signs saying "support the students" arrived in Admiralty to deliver supplies - mostly bottled water - to protesters. Music played as the trucks reached Harcourt Road where thousands of protesters camping out opposite government headquarters welcomed them with a round of applause.

2.00am Admiralty: Alex Chow Yong-kang, head of the Federation of Students that had also called on protesters to gather outside the Chief Executive's Office, vowed to stay on occupying the exits of the office until October 3 if CY Leung doesn't step down. "This side of the government headquarters is strategic because it will seal off the access for police reinforcement," Chow said. He also said students would besiege more government department buildings as an escalation if their movement.

1.55am Beijing suspends group tour visas to Hong Kong from the mainland, RTHK reports. Travel agents on the mainland report that group visas for Hong Kong-bound Chinese tourists were suspended on Wednesday, according to Joseph Tung, executive director of the Travel Industry Council of Hong Kong.

1.45am Mong Kok: Next Media boss Jimmy Lai Chee-ying visited protesters in Mong Kok about 9pm on Wednesday night. He said that people had spontaneously started the rally and they would not leave until Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying had resigned. Agnes Chow of Scholarism later told reporters the group were seeking a five-step procedure to restart Hong Kong's political reform if Leung resigned.

1.40am Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung's daughter Leung Chai-yan made some questionable comments on Facebook earlier on Wednesday. Seemingly responding to negative comments about a necklace she is wearing in her profile picture, she wrote: "This is actually a beautiful necklace bought at Lane Crawford (yes - funded by all you HK taxpayers!! So are all my beautiful shoes and dresses and clutches!! Thank you so much!!!!) Actually maybe I shouldn't say 'all you'- since most of you here are probably unemployed hence have all this time obsessed with bombarding me with messages."

1.20am: Brief but heavy showers have forced many protesters off the street and into cover along Hennessy Road, as the Hong Kong Observatory issues a thunderstorm warning until 2.15am. As the rain as started, a teary first-time protestor Lee Yuen-lam, 20, took to the microphone: "I'm crying because I've been so moved to tears to see large numbers of people take to the streets. I used to be apolitical, but the protests have made me think again."

1.15am Tsim Sha Tsui: On Canton Road, protesters started to pack and move to the pavement after sounds of thunder were heard. There was no sign that the occupation would end here as a young man called for more protesters to help. "If you can help to maintain order during the night please come to the resources centre, we need more helpers," he said through a loud hailer.

1.10am Admiralty: Two vehicles exiting Lung Wo Road tunnel almost crashed into each other after braking loudly. A police inspector told the crowd on Tim Wa Avenue, which joins with Lung Wo Road: "Your behaviour almost caused a traffic accident. You are blocking emergency access and we can do nothing if anything happens. You are endangering public safety." His remarks immediately caused a stir, and a brief scuffle ensued. Leung Kwok-hung retorted: "It is you who are blocking our protest!"

1.10am Admiralty: CY Leung's resignation is the only solution to resolve the Occupy Central crisis, says Cardinal Joseph Zen. "CY Leung must step down, otherwise nothing can be concluded," said Zen. Arriving at Civic Square at Tamar after midnight after he "failed to go to sleep", Zen said if the government could tell people to "pocket" the current electoral reform that only allows Beijing-approved candidates for the chief executive race for the time being, "then why can't [Leung] step down for now?"

Zen said Beijing did not trust Hongkongers and had no sincerity in offering the city real universal suffrage as it promised. "But now we have landed a position that we cannot go back from," Zen said. He said the government was stupid to use tear gas on people who had committed no serious crimes. "They are just taking up the roads. The movement has been reasonable and well-planned," he said. "I admire the young people."

1.00am Admiralty: The symbolic umbrella is out once again as rain begins to fall. Protesters rise to their feet to take cover or to put on ponchos.

12.50am: In Causeway Bay, crowds have scaled back to about half the number attending the protest on Tuesday night. One man attending for the first time, who was not authorised to speak publicly due to pressure from his employer, said he wanted to show his support. Before today, the man had been working in the mainland. He said he had watched three hours of CNN's live uncensored broadcast on Sunday night of clashes between Hong Kong protesters and police on mainland television.

12.45am Admiralty: Dozens of youngsters are gathering outside the chief executive's office on Tim Wa Avenue to stage a sit-in. Wong Ho-ming, of the League of Social Democrats, chanted through a loudspeaker, "CY Leung step down! You don't need to come back the day after tomorrow! [after the public holiday]". Lawmaker "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung has joined them and is addressing the crowd.

12.25am: Crowds are thinning on Connaught Road Central as protesters head for the last MTR train from Central station. A sprinkling of students are set to spend the night on the tarmac, but the numbers are expected to be much lower than the previous night when crowds stayed to see in National Day.

12.15am London: Hong Kong’s last colonial governor Chris Patten on Wednesday weighed into the debate over the Occupy Central protests, suggesting there should be “a new period of genuine consultation” over the democratic reform. Lord Patten said dialogue “must replace tear gas and pepper spray”.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday, he also said it would be “crazy” and “stupid”, if Beijing sent army to suppress the protests.

“I can’t believe the Chinese leaders would be so crazy,” said Lord Patten, “Beijing is concerned about its image… I can’t believe it would be so stupid to send in the army.”

On Hong Kong’s democratisation, the last governor cited the Basic Law - Hong Kong’s mini-constitution - and said it stated clearly that the pace of democracy is a matter for Hong Kong government.

“It is absurd that it is decided by the Beijing authorities,” said Lord Patten. “[The Chinese side had] said these matters were within the autonomy of the Hong Kong government and they are now reneging on that.”

In an article in the Financial Times last month, Lord Patten also stressed that Britain had a “moral and political obligation” to Hong Kong because it co-signed the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration. The joint declaration stipulated that Hong Kong should enjoy extensive autonomy under the “one country two systems” principle after returning to Chinese rule on July 1, 1997.

11.55pm Causeway Bay: Democratic Party lawmaker Albert Ho Chun-yan leaves the protest site in Causeway Bay after spending the past few hours there. He told to the Post that the scope of the movement went beyond his best expectations.

"As a movement, it is very impressive. It broke out in such a scale that went beyond our imagination," he said.

Praising the solidarity and organisation skills shown by the students, Ho said that it would be hard to predict the future of the protest.

"Now it's up to the [Hong Kong] administration. But it will be hard," he said.

Among the students' demands, Ho said that the resignation of CY Leung would be the first step. "In that way, people would feel the sincerity of the government," he said.

Ho said he believed that the protests would not die down in in the near future: "I think people can last many more days. They are very enthusiastic and energetic."

11.45pm Protesters in Central write messages on a series of banners stretching 25 metres along the street calling for Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to resign.

Written in colourful marker pens on a white background, the slogans call for democracy in Hong Kong and tell readers to "add oil." [Keep up the pressure]

Some cartoons depict the city's leader as a wolf or as having vampire teeth.

11.30pm Mong Kok: Public forums are held at the rally site on the busiest junction of Nathan Road and Argyle Street, as two groups of about 30 cars and trucks block two entrances to the road near a row of stranded double deckers, shielding the crowds in all four directions.

The vehicles, including modified and tuned Japanese sports cars and trucks, began arriving at about 10.15pm to occupy the stretch of the roadway in central Mong Kok. Some cars carry fake car number plates, such as "F***689", making it unlikely they have turned up just for free parking.

11.15pm Macau: Some 800 people, comprising mostly of secondary school and university students, gathered at Friendship Square in Macau to show solidarity with their fellow students in Hong Kong. The assembly started at 8pm with lawmaker Au Kam-san, Bill Chou Kuok-ping, vice-president of the pan-democratic group New Macau, and Jason Chao, president of the Macau Open Society, giving speeches about different ways of achieving universal suffrage.

Macau is the only other special administrative region (SAR) in China outside of Hong Kong. As in Hong Kong, Macau's chief executive is elected by an electoral college.

10.30pm: Macau protest organisers estimate the crowd at Praca Da Amizade has grown to 800. Some protesters had gone to the originally planned venue of gathering, outside Macau's legislative building, after the government rejected an application for a gathering there, but allowed it to be moved to the square. 

10.20pm: Michelle Huang, Winnie Chan, and Emily Tang, posed for a photograph earlier tonight with umbrellas adorned with yellow ribbons.

Umbrellas have become a symbol of the movement after students used them to shield themselves from police pepper spray during the weekend.

"It's a real umbrella revolution." Emily Tang, 29, said. Tang first joined the protests on Saturday and has been taking part daily.

The Chinese character on the umbrella means "support".

10.12pm: A dozen motorcycles carrying supplies for protesters just drove pass Admiralty Centre. Crowds part to make way for the bike fleet with warm applause.

10.00pm: The "Umbrella Revolution" in Hong Kong has inspired an outburst of creativity by like-minded artists both at home and abroad. Here is a painting, "Hearts eager for freedom", by Hong Kong-based artist Kori Song. #UmbrellaArt

9.40pm: About 200 Hongkongers gathered in Queen's Park in Brisbane, Australia on Wednesday in support of the "umbrella movement" in Hong Kong.

They distributed yellow ribbons and collected about 3,200 signatures from people from different suburbs in a petition addressed to Austrlian MPs. 

They gathered in the park afterwards and sang songs from the Hong Kong protest. People took turns to speak of their thoughts which are with people in Hong Kong. They also observed a minute of silence to mourn for those who died in the Lamma ferry crash on this day two years ago.

9.30pm: Update in Causeway Bay's "watermelon from the sky" incident: a woman with a piece of black cloth covering her face was escorted by policemen out the back of a residential building into an ambulance. Police had spent more than an hour investigating an incident earlier this evening when a plastic bad filled with water and pieces of watermelon skin was thrown out of a window but missed protesters. 

9pm: A white truck with brightly coloured lights is delivering water to protesters in Central for a second night. 

The truck brings supplies from Wanchai and people can arrange to have deliveries made, said organiser Cheri Sung, a 21-year-old university student.

"I think they are starting to cause wastage because people are diminishing but citizens are still bringing it."

The van left to huge cheers.

8.50pm: Some Mongkok residents have complained about noise from protesters. One woman said she had not had a good night's sleep for three nights. Protest marshals said they would wind down their large speakers.

8.45pm: Ten-year-old volunteer Chan Pak Yan is handing out yellow ribbons to protesters on Canton Road.

"I came to support protesters, I agree with them that Hong Kong needs universal suffrage," Chan said.

Chan told his mum that he wanted to come and they travelled from Tai Po to Tsim Sha Tsiu. "I want to come here to be some help and want Hong Kong to be a better place," Chan said.

8.42pm: One of Hong Kong's most popular showbiz stars, Andy Lau Tak-wah, has urged the government not to use tear gas and violence against student protesters.

Dubbed as the city's unofficial "community chief executive," the award-winning actor wrote in his official website wishing peace for Hong Kong and reminding students and protesters to be safe and stay calm.

Lau wrote: "All Hongkongers love Hong Kong. We need to be considerate when we express our opinions. Don't be provoked. No tear gas. No violence. No senseless arguments. Students and protesters, please be safe. Remember that your families are worried about your safety. Wish Hong Kong peace."

Veteran actor Chow Yun-fat also spoke up. He told the media that the government made a serious mistake by using tear gas on students on day one. He criticised the government for being evasive when it should be facing the public.

"The students are very smart and rational. This is a peaceful protest. Why did [the government] have to resort to the violent tear gas?" Chow said.

"CY Leung cannot run away from this," Chow said. 

Hong Kong's entertainment industry has been criticised for its lack of courage to talk about politics. After singers Anthony Wong Yiu-Ming and Denise Ho openly showed support to students by turning up at the protests, A-list Canto-pop stars Joey Yung Cho-yee and Kay Tse were also spotted turning up at protests to show support.

8.23pm: Thousands of protesters observe a minute of silence at Occupy Mongkok in memory of those killed in the Lamma ferry disaster two years ago - the worst maritime disaster in the city's recent history. The crash claimed the lives of 39 people. 

8.15pm: In Macau, organisers say about 500 activists are gathering at the Praca Da Amizade to show solidarity with Hong Kong protests. The gathering had been approved by the territory's government. The meeting was first planned to take place in front of Macau's Legislative Assembly, but later moved.

7.35pm: A plastic bag filled with water and pieces of watermelon skin was thrown out of a window in a building on Yee Wo Street. No one was injured. Protesters reported the case to the police.

7.30pm: Three representatives from Scholarism arrived at Occupy Mongkok to thank protesters and show support. They reiterated that they were not there to steal the show but would be there to provide help and protect the participants.

"This is a city-wide movement which we brought up, but there are no leaders," one spokesman said.

Some protesters were displeased that the students had taken up more than the allowed speaking time of two minutes on stage. Some others said they were concerned that the students might be trying to seize leadership of the Mongkok protests.  

7.30pm: Dr Fu King-wa, assistant professor at the University of Hong Kong’s Journalism and Media Studies Centre and founder of the censorship-tracking website Weiboscope, said that the number of posts deleted from the popular microblogging site Weibo by mainland censors since Saturday has hit a record high.

Fu’s website – which tracks a daily sample of 50,000 to 60,000 postings from popular microbloggers – found that 98 posts per 10,000 were blocked on Saturday, 152 on Sunday at the height of the Hong Kong clashes, and 136 on Monday.

“This is the highest in 2014 – even higher than June 4 (the Tiananmen Square anniversary), even higher than some of the trials of the human rights lawyers, and also higher than some of the other social movements in China,” Fu said, referring to the past year’s civil society clampdown under President Xi Jinping.

Meanwhile, this photo just in from the protest site at Causeway Bay ...

7.26pm: In a letter to students and faculty posted on Facebook this afternoon, Professor Joseph Sung Jao-yiu, vice-chancellor of the Chinese University said he worried when he saw demonstrators, including some of his university’s students, dispersed by tear gas on Sunday evening.

“When I saw on Saturday afternoon that students who 'claimed' the People's Square were removed one-by-one, I could not hold my tears. It was a 'smooth' action in which some 100 protestors, among them many students, were arrested. I saw student leaders exhausted, pale (probably because of sickness), and helpless, waiting to be arrested. When I saw on Sunday the use of tear gas in Central against the crowd, I could not hold my tears. In these few days, when I see students sleeping on the street, scorched by the sun, hit by storm and yet picking up garbage on the road, I could not hold my tears.

"I respect the students for their peaceful and persistent effort in requesting freedom of expressing their opinions. I was touched by their courage and their sacrifices.

They are only fighting for their dreams, though they may not understand the whole complicated issue. Let us give our students the greatest tolerance and leniency. Here, I call upon all to refrain from using force of any kind. I request the authorities to exercise their discretion in prosecuting the arrested students. I urge opening dialogue between the Government and our students."

7.25pm: Despite the turmoil and contrary to rumour, today’s National Day holiday race meeting went ahead as planned. But that was about all that was normal.

Late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping – the architect of the  “One Country, Two Systems’’ concept at the heart of the protests rocking our city – sought to assure the SAR that "horse racing and dancing would continue to be prominent fixtures in Hong Kong".

The diminutive giant of Chinese political history clearly still has a point, but the momentous events going on around us are clearly having a deep-rooted effect when you consider this. Today’s attendance at Shatin Racecourse was around 23,000, a year-on-year percentage drop of about 22 per cent, and turnover was down 6.8 per cent. Go figure.

7.20pm: A quick re-cap of today's main events:

* Student leaders have set Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying a deadline of tomorrow to resign. If he doesn't, they say they will ramp up the protests by occupying government buildings. Their actions, if carried out, would almost inevitably lead to physical confrontation with security agencies.

* Leung will wait out the protests, relying on the Hongkongers not taking part becoming fed up with the inconvenience caused by the demonstrations, according to a The Wall Street Journal report. The report cites a source familiar with the matter as saying Beijing had ordered Leung to halt the protests "in a peaceful way", saying that Leung will play the waiting game, hanging out for the protests to die a natural death.

* It's National Day, though understandably celebrations have been low key. Leung and mainland politicians raised a glass to mark the occasion at the flag-raising ceremony this morning as protesters booed outside."We must work ... to make the Chinese dream come true," Leung said. 

* Filipino migrant workers have been warned by their consulate to avoid the protests. A memo seen by the Post which has circulated among the 160,000-plus strong community warns of fines up to HK$5,000, one-year prison sentences and the threat of deportation. Full story is here: Filipino migrant workers in Hong Kong warned to stay away from Occupy Central protests

7.16pm: A group of Hong Kong artists have been transmitting messages of support from around the world for pro-democracy protesters in the city.

Stand By You: Add Oil Machine is a “media art project in solidarity with” Occupy Central. Supporters from around the world can submit short messages via a website, which are then displayed on a projector and a giant LED billboard in protest zones.

Sampson Wong, a local artist involved in the project, told the South China Morning Post that when they projected messages onto a wall alongside Gloucester Road in Wan Chai, where many demonstrators passed on the way to protest zones in Admiralty and Causeway Bay, “lots of people were stopping to look, some stood there for half an hour to read the messages.”

Full story here: Artists project messages of support from around the world to Occupy Central protesters