HONG KONG —
Hong Kong authorities have canceled talks with pro-democracy protesters occupying parts of the city after they vowed to step up civil disobedience.
The protest leader said increased pressure was needed ahead of the talks to ensure progress toward direct elections.
Hong Kong Chief Secretary Carrie Lam late Thursday canceled the widely anticipated talks with pro-democracy protest leaders.
Lam said the government does not want to be linked with possibly illegal actions, which is how China has described the protests.
"We cannot accept the fact that someone will link the talks with possible continued illegal Occupy (Central) actions," Lam said.
Threaten to expand protests
In an evening press conference, Hong Kong's second-in-charge said the protesters were not acting in good faith by threatening to expand a two-week demonstration occupying central parts of the city.
Leaders of the major groups organizing the occupation in the afternoon declared a "new wave" of civil disobedience. They vowed to step up pressure on the government for constitutional change and urged the public to rally at a central protest site.
"And, if this government is not sincere and has no will to really respond to Hong Kong citizens’ demand on constitutional reform, then the next step would be more..methods and way of disobedient struggle in Hong Kong," said protest leader Alex Chow, with the Federation of Students.
Thousands of student-led protesters have for two weeks occupied central parts of Hong Kong demanding the Beijing-appointed chief executive step down.
Pro-democracy protesters also want constitutional changes to prevent China's announced plan to hand-select future candidates.
Scholarism founder Joshua Wong said they were considering additional student-led boycotts.
"If our request will not be accept, Scholarsim will try to plan the third time of secondary school class boycott," Wong said.
Voiced support for demonstrators
Opposition political supporters in Hong Kong's legislature announced their support for the demonstrators and a plan to impeach Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying.
The Beijing-appointed leader has been accused of improperly accepting more than $6 million dollars from an Australian company while in office. He denies the funds were improper.
"We would continue to prepare for the impeachment of CY Leung," said Pan-Democratic camp representative Alan Leong. "We are actively gathering evidence. And, as soon as the draft charges are ready we would move a motion of impeachment in the council."
At least one protest leader anticipated the dialogue might be cancelled, urging that the public join a Friday evening rally even if the government pulled out of talks.
The protesters' plan to rally supporters may have been partly out of desperation as the government refused to give ground.
The number of protesters dwindle during the day and have dropped noticeably since the protest began.
A growing number of Hong Kong voices are opposing the disruption of traffic and business while the demonstrators argue it is a small price to pay to fight for genuine democracy.