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Hong Kong Occupy leader says protests will spread 'like flowers'

Pro-democracy leaders pleaded with residents to understand why the city has been brought to a standstill.

Hong Kong Democracy Protest Source: AP/Press Association Images

ONE OF HONG KONG’S most prominent pro-democracy leaders struggled to contain his emotions today as he warned protests would spread like “blossoming flowers” and pleaded with residents to understand why the city has been brought to a standstill.

Occupy Central co-founder Chan Kin-man told reporters it was inevitable the protests, which have already taken over several main roads and intersections, would grow if the government maintained its hard-line stance.

Hong Kong Democracy Protest Protesters shout slogans outside a flag-raising ceremony where Hong Kong's embattled leader attended in Hong Kong. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Occuptation

“We understand why citizens are continuing to expand the occupation, it is because the government is so cold,” Chan said, regularly having to stop speaking to compose himself.

Despite such a large occupation, the government is still using such an attitude, so a lot of people think that the action now is not enough and that flowers must continue to blossom everywhere.

Hong Kong Democracy Protest Student protesters chant anti-government slogans outside of the China's National Day flag raising ceremony. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Occupy Central is one of the main organisers of the protest which spread to different parts of the semi-autonomous city after riot police tear-gassed demonstrators on Sunday, prompting more supporters to join them on the streets.

Protests

Tens of thousands of protesters have assembled in three major commercial and retail areas of Hong Kong for the past three days.

By midday today, crowds in the central district of Admiralty had already increased to several thousand, with offices closed for a public holiday to mark China’s National Day.

Hong Kong Democracy Protest Protesters gather at a main streets. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Chan, who was close to tears, apologised to citizens for the inconvenience the sit-ins have caused and asked for tolerance.

I hope everyone will understand what we are doing is not to harm Hong Kong. With this short-term inconvenience, we hope to bring about a system that is more fair.

Earlier today, Hong Kong’s leader Leung Chun-ying said the community should work together in a “peaceful, lawful, rational and pragmatic manner” while reiterating his commitment to the “Chinese dream”.

Australia Hong Kong Democracy Protest A woman looks at colorful post-it notes that are stuck on the outside of the Hong Kong building in Sydney. Source: AP/Press Association Images

The city’s chief executive has asked protesters to end the sit-in, but his request has had no impact on demonstrators.

The most intense civil unrest Hong Kong has experienced since its 1997 handover from British rule was sparked by Beijing’s decision in August to restrict who can stand for the city’s top post in elections in 2017.

Protesters have two demands — that Leung step down and Beijing rescind its insistence that his successor be vetted.

- © AFP, 2014

Read: Hong Kong protesters: “Nothing can stop us”>

Read: Hong Kong protesters batten down ahead of Chinese national holiday>

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