Hong Kong’s top executive official has expressed the government’s openness to talks with student protesters, who have been demanding his ouster as well as the revocation of a new election law.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said on Thursday that government authorities want to hold talks on potential democratic reforms.
“Over the last few days, including this morning through third parties, we expressed a wish to the students that we would like to start a dialogue to discuss universal suffrage as soon as we can and hopefully within the following week,” Leung told reporters.
He further stated that city authorities would continue to restore order in Hong Kong, including the normalization of the traffic, according to its laws “as quickly as we can.”
The development comes as the mostly youthful people of Hong Kong have been taking to the streets of the huge city to protest against the government’s new election law.
Earlier in the day, city police forces used pepper spray to halt protesters from blocking a major road near the office of the city’s chief executive.
Authorities angered protesters when they called off a planned meeting with student leaders last week. The authorities claimed that the talks were unlikely to produce constructive results.
Protesters have been rallying against an election law that forces city residents to elect their next leader in 2017 from a list of candidates approved by the central government in Beijing.