MOSCOW, October 16 (RIA Novosti) - Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has said that the government cannot let protests in the Chinese Special Administrative Region continue following a surge in violence between demonstrators and police, CNN International reported Thursday.
"We cannot allow the situation to continue," Leung was quoted as saying by CNN International.
The Hong Kong leader said the pro-democracy protests paralyzing parts of the city needs to stop, following a two-day spike in violence between demonstrators and police. In order to defuse the situation, Leung has reopened his offer to hold talks with the protesting students on Thursday, a week after the government pulled out of discussions, claiming it was impossible to have constructive dialogue at that point in time. Talks are expected to begin as early as next week.
The situation in Hong Kong has recently escalated into violence, particularly on Lung Wo Road near the central government offices in the Admiralty district, according to CNN International. Early on Thursday morning, police fired pepper spray at protesters, but claimed they only did so after demonstrators ignored warnings and attempted to charge them.
Earlier on Wednesday, Hong Kong broadcaster TVB aired a video of what appeared to be six policemen carrying a protester to a street corner and beating him for several minutes. The officers involved in the incident have been temporarily relieved of duties, while police have vowed to investigate the alleged assault.
Protests in Hong Kong calling for free elections in 2017 and for Leung to step down have lasted some three weeks. Demonstrators claim China has gone back on its pledge to allow universal suffrage in Hong Kong, with Beijing insisting on screening election candidates.