A woman sits under a yellow umbrella as pro-democracy protesters gather on a main street they occupy at Mongkok shopping district in Hong Kong October 23, 2014.
Photo CREDIT: REUTERS/DAMIR SAGOLJ
Hong Kong’s student protest leaders plan to hold a vote to measure demonstrator support for government reform proposals offered at talks earlier this week.
A coalition of protest groups says it will hold the referendum on Sunday at the main downtown protest site, where demonstrations are now entering their fifth week.
Following landmark Tuesday talks, Hong Kong authorities offered to send a letter to China’s cabinet relaying protesters’ dismay at Beijing’s decision to pre-approve candidates for the territory’s 2017 election.
The government also offered to hold regular dialogue with the protesters on democratic reform, on the condition they end the protests that have blockaded many busy streets.
Main protest leaders have already rejected the proposals as insufficient, but many now say a referendum is important in order to get a better endorsement from the people.
Tens of thousands have camped out in several protest sites since late September, calling for the Beijing-friendly Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to resign and for Beijing to allow genuine universal suffrage.
Hong Kong and mainland authorities say the protests are illegal and have suggested that the protesters do not reflect the will of Hong Kongers as a whole.
On Thursday, the protesters received a lift from the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which called on China to ensure universal suffrage, including the “right to stand for elections.”