Students occupying the area outside Hong Kong's government headquarters agreed today to remove some barricades that have blocked the building's entrance during weeklong pro-democracy protests, as police warned of taking "all necessary measures" to clear the streets by the beginning of the work week. Television footage from the scene showed a protest representative shaking hands with a police officer, but it was not immediately clear whether all the students had decided to withdraw. The move appeared to be part of a strategy to regroup in another part of town. Across the harbor in Hong Kong's Mong Kok district, protesters were divided about whether to stay put or decamp to the city's Admiralty section, the main protest site.
With the standoff between protesters and the government in its eighth day, tempers were flaring and patience was waning among residents who oppose the occupation of the streets and the disruption it has brought.Police armed with pepper spray and batons clashed with pro-democracy protesters overnight, after officials said they intended to have key streets open for schools and offices by tomorrow morning. Hong Kong's current leader, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying, appeared on television last night to once again urge everyone to go home, saying key roads paralyzed by protesters needed to return to normal by tomorrow. "The government and the police have the duty and determination to take all necessary actions to restore social order so the government and the 7 million people of Hong Kong can return to their normal work and life," Leung said. (Read more Hong Kong stories.)