HONG KONG, Oct 26 – Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters were Sunday forced to suspend a planned vote on their next steps — hours before it was due to begin — due to differing opinions about how to move their month-long campaign forward. Four weeks after tens of thousands of Hong Kongers took to the streets demanding free leadership elections for the semi-autonomous Chinese city, protesters remain stubbornly encamped across several major road junctions.
But the crowds have shrunk dramatically and their leaders have struggled to decide how to keep up the momentum. With Beijing insisting that candidates for the 2017 vote must be vetted by a loyalist committee — an arrangement the protesters deride as “fake democracy — there is no end to the stalemate in sight. The vote by mobile phone had been set to take place on Sunday and Monday evening to gauge protesters’ opinions on what their next moves should be.
But just hours before voting was due to begin, protest leaders told reporters they had been forced to postpone it because of differing views on how it should be carried out. “We decided to adjourn the vote… but it doesn’t mean the movement has stopped,” said Benny Tai of prominent pro-democracy group Occupy Central, adding it was a “very difficult decision to make”.