Crowds remain defiant

PRO-DEMOCRACY crowds have stayed on the streets of Hong Kong at the start of National Day — which activists hope will see the largest protests so far.

Tens of thousands of people have been blocking parts of the city for days.

They are demanding that China withdraw plans to vet candidates for the next leadership election in 2017.

Current leader CY Leung has urged the protesters to go home, and Chinese President Xi Jinping has reaffirmed Beijing’s influence on the territory.

On Tuesday Mr Xi told Communist Party leaders in Beijing that his government would “unswervingly implement the guidelines of ‘one country, two systems’ and the Basic Law, and steadfastly safeguard the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and Macau”.

Mr Leung, Hong Kong’s chief executive, has rejected campaigners’ call for him to stand down.

On Wednesday, he attended a ceremony in Hong Kong marking National Day, a public holiday that celebrates the founding of communist China in 1949.