HK Protesters Defy Call to Disperse

HK Protesters Defy Call to DisperseHK Protesters Defy Call to Disperse

Protesters expanded their rallies throughout Hong Kong on Monday, defying calls to disperse in a major pushback against Beijing’s decision to limit political reforms in the Asian financial hub.

Riot police withdrew from the scene of chaotic tear gas-fueled clashes that erupted the evening before and the government asked protesters to disperse peacefully.

But the demonstrators remained camped out on a normally busy highway near the Hong Kong government headquarters.

Police had tried earlier to negotiate, with an officer asking them through a bullhorn to clear the way for the commuters. A protester, using the group’s own speaker system, responded by saying that they wanted Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to demand a genuine choice for the territory’s voters.

China has called the protests illegal and warned against foreign interference. “Hong Kong is China’s Hong Kong,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying defiantly told a news briefing in Beijing.

The mass protests are the strongest challenge yet to Beijing’s decision last month to reject open nominations for candidates under proposed guidelines for the first-ever elections for Hong Kong’s leader, promised for 2017.