Traffic disrupted, schools shut as protest continues

Updated: 2014-09-30 20:25


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HONG KONG - Large crowds of protesters continued to occupy thoroughfares in various districts in Hong Kong as Occupy Central entered the third day, leading to serious traffic disruption and school closures again.

Started off on Sunday at the Government Headquarters in Admiralty, Occupy Central has triggered protests in Central, Causeway Bay and Mongkok, the city's busiest areas. Protesters held assemblies took to the streets in these areas.

Police told a press briefing Tuesday afternoon that emergency services were affected as major roads were blocked. They urged protesters to leave peacefully and orderly to reduce inconvenience caused to members of the public.

Due to the protests, more than 200 bus routes were canceled or diverted, some of the subway exits in Central and Causeway Bay were closed, tram service on Hong Kong Island was also affected, according to the police.

Classes at all kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools and special schools in Wan Chai, Central and Western districts were suspended for the second day, the Education Bureau said, because Occupy Central continued to disrupt traffic in these districts.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority said local banking system and financial market functioned normally on Monday.

Trading has been normal, the authority added, saying there was ample liquidity in the banking system, interbank rates were at levels similar to last week. A total of 37 branches or offices of 21 banks have been affected by the protests and are temporarily closed on Tuesday morning.

Speaking to the media before Tuesday's Executive Council meeting, Hong Kong Chief Executive C Y Leung said the Occupy Central protests would not force Beijing to back down.

He stressed that, according to the Basic Law, the Hong Kong Legislative Council, the chief executive and the National People's Congress Standing Committee have the right to decide how the chief executive should be elected.

The chief executive Tuesday urged Occupy Central organizers to end the protest immediately, saying the movement has been affecting people's daily lives.

Leung reiterated that the government respected the people's rights to express their views, and hoped that they would also respect the rights of road users.