On the eve of what could be the biggest turnout yet in Hong Kong’s continuing protests, and a crucial test of wills on both sides, a demonstration that began with physical confrontation between authorities and pro-democracy demonstrators shifted Tuesday into a public relations duel aimed at the mass of undecided residents here.
Three days into protests that have brought large parts of the city to a standstill, both sides appeared to be carefully plotting their next move. Some pro-democracy leaders demanded a meeting with Hong Kong’s chief executive and threatened new acts of civil disobedience if the demand is not met.
The actors in Wednesday’s drama will be the protesters and authorities of Hong Kong, but the mainland Chinese leadership will be following events closely. Huge public protest is anathema to Beijing, and what happens in Hong Kong over the next day or two could shape the Chinese response.
The demonstrators have called for a large showing on the first day of a big two-day holiday and say they’re not backing down. ...
By protesting, activists are trying to force Beijing’s Communist Party leaders to abandon newly declared powers to weed out any candidates in the upcoming Hong Kong election for Leung’s successor. And the cordial nature of the protests over the past three days has perhaps been their most distinctive quality.
In putting a strong emphasis on the “civil” part of their civil disobedience, protesters are trying to sway large portions of the public that until recently have remained on the fence about an occupation of Hong Kong’s all-important financial district.