Protests demanding democratic elections continue in Hong Kong

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Protests demanding democratic elections continue in Hong Kong
Beijing, Sep 29: Thousands of people continued their protest Monday to demand democratic elections for the city government of Hong Kong following a night of tension when police used teargas against the protestors, Efe news agency reported.

The situation had calmed down considerably by early Monday with several demonstrators sitting down or sleeping in the streets while the police who had erected barricades in front of buildings also took a break.

The authorities once again urged the protestors to return home and withdraw from the administrative and financial districts of the city such as Admiralty, Central and Causeway Bay.

Banks, schools and some private businesses in those areas were closed.

The local government as well as the legislative assembly have also suspended several of their activities.

However, the Hong Kong stock market, Asia's second largest shares exchange, was able to open as usual although the tension and the possibility of the financial district being cut off caused the market to plummet.

The exchange opened with a fall of 1.18 percent of the Hang Seng Index in the first few minutes of the session, while gold prices fell to $1,222.84 per ounce, 7.58 percent less than at the close of trading Friday.

Several metro station exits are also closed and many bus lines were suspended or diverted.

Volunteers were bringing food, water for the demonstrators along with masks to protect themselves from the tear gas.

Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung has denied rumours that the army would be deployed or that the riot police would be using rubber bullets.

High school students have also gone on strike, staging sit-ins in school yards.

The protestors are demanding free elections for the next chief executive in 2017 after China announced in August that Hong Kong's citizens would be able to vote directly for one of two or three vetted candidates previously selected by a special commission.

Meanwhile, a Xinhua report said that the Hong Kong government Monday announced cancellation of National Day fireworks Oct 1.

The government said in view of the latest situation, it was anticipated that main roads leading to hot spots for viewing the fireworks display might continue to be seriously affected.

The National Day fireworks display was scheduled to take place from Victoria Harbour.

IANS

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