HONG KONG: Hong Kong pro-democracy activists today suspended a planned vote on the next steps in their month-long protest – hours before it was due to begin – due to differing opinions on how the movement should proceed, organisers said.
A statement from the main groups involved in the protest said the suspension was agreed “because there were many different opinions about the format of the vote” as well as other matters.
They were due to hold a press conference shortly.
The vote by mobile phone had been set to take place today and tomorrow evening to gauge opinions on how demonstrators should respond to conciliatory measures offered by the government in a bid to end their mass sit-ins, which have paralysed several major city junctions.
Tens of thousands of Hong Kongers spilled onto the streets in late September in anger at Beijing’s refusal to grant free leadership elections to the former British colony.
It insists that candidates for the 2017 vote must be vetted by a pro-China committee.
But the crowds have dwindled, with protest leaders struggling to keep up momentum and clashes breaking out with both opponents and the police.
Hong Kong’s government made tentative concessions to the protesters during talks last Tuesday, saying they would file a report to Beijing about recent events and suggesting that both sides set up a committee to discuss further political reform beyond 2017.
Voting protesters were to set be asked two questions about how to respond to the government offers.
The pro-democracy movement is facing growing pressure to decide on its next move, with frustration growing among residents after a month of traffic mayhem caused by the protests.
“We feel we have been conducting the vote hastily,” Benny Tai, a co-founder of the Occupy Central protest group, told reporters.
“There is not enough deliberation.”
“We decided to adjourn the vote at the square but it doesn’t mean the movement has stopped,” he said.