Hong Kong: Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters demanded the city's embattled leader heed their ultimatum to resign today, but China backed him “firmly and unshakably” and pledged support for the police.
Demonstrators, who have shut down central areas of the southern Chinese city with a mass sit-in, have given Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying until midnight to step down, or face escalated action.
But Beijing put its weight behind Leung with an editorial in Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily today warning against chaos in the city.
“Central government will continue to firmly and unshakably support legal measures and policies taken by administration leader C Y Leung, and... the police of the special territory in handling these illegal protests according to the law,” it said.
The comment piece accused pro-democracy group Occupy Central of violating Hong Kong's laws and said the city would “fall into chaos” if the situation is not dealt with.
Days of peaceful demonstrations have seen tens of thousands of people take over usually traffic-heavy streets in Hong Kong as they demand Beijing grant fully free elections in the semi-autonomous city.
Beijing's latest comments came after China's foreign minister issued a stern warning to the United States not to meddle in its “internal affairs”.
“All countries should respect China's sovereignty and this is a basic principle of governing international relations,” Wang Yi told US Secretary of State John Kerry at a press conference.
Kerry replied urging Hong Kong authorities to “exercise restraint and respect the protesters' right to express their views peacefully”.
The demonstrators consider Leung a Beijing stooge and protest leaders want today's ultimatum to be met.
“We will consider having different operating actions in future days, including occupying other places like important government offices,” said Agnes Chow of student movement Scholarism.