Hong Kong protesters reopen door to talks

HONG KONG – Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters have held a peace rally in central Hong Kong in defiance of recent attacks against their ranks, as students reopened the door for talks with government over their political reform demands.

Hong Kong’s main student union, which had called off negotiations saying police failed to act over the violent clashes, said early yesterday it would meet with the government on the condition it responded over the police handling of the ugly scenes on Friday.

“The government should show commitment in investigating the incident, investigate why the police were so lax in enforcement, accusations of helping criminals and to give an explanation to the public as soon as possible,” the Hong Kong Federation of Students (HKFS) said.

The city authorities on Saturday strongly denied using paid thugs to harass the protesters.

“As long as the government responds to the above, the students are willing to talk again,” HKFS said.

In a speech broadcast on television late on Saturday, Hong Kong’s leader said he was determined to clear the streets of protesters by today when the city returns to work.

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