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Hong Kong halts talks with students

Los Angeles Times

HONG KONG – The government called off formal talks with student leaders set for today, raising the specter of more demonstrations in a city already weary from 12 days of protests.

Carrie Lam, chief secretary of Hong Kong, said the talks were canceled because students continued to demand free elections and refused to leave occupied parts of the city.

“This is sacrificing public good for their political demands, and is against public interests and political ethics,” Lam said at a news conference Thursday night. The students’ demands, she added, “undermined the basis for a constructive dialogue.”

Hours earlier, pro-democracy lawmakers had opened a new front in the city’s tense standoff by threatening to block action in the city’s Legislature.

“Hong Kong has entered an era of disobedience and noncooperation,” Alan Leong, a pro-democracy legislator, said at a news conference alongside protest leaders. Leong said he and other lawmakers in favor of freer elections would block legislation that required funding if the government did not give in.

Student leaders vowed to have demonstrations across the city and called for a third boycott of secondary schools if talks did not yield results.

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