Protesters rest following pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong on September 29, 2014. AFP PHOTO / XAUME OLLEROS
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Hong Kong's embattled leader called Tuesday for an immediate end to street demonstrations that have drawn tens of thousands and paralyzed parts of the city, but protesters refused to move until China grants genuine democracy.Protest leaders rejected Leung's demands and renewed calls for the Beijing-backed leader to step down as they prepared for another night of huge demonstrations.The demonstrations, the worst civil unrest Hong Kong has experienced since its 1997 handover from British rule, were sparked by Beijing's decision last month to restrict who can stand for the city's top post.Hong Kongers will be able to vote for their next chief executive in 2017 elections but only two or three candidates vetted by a pro-Beijing committee will be allowed to stand -- something which demonstrators have labelled a "fake democracy" that shows Hong Kong cannot trust its mainland overseers. Beijing stayed defiant Tuesday, saying it supported Hong Kong's handling of the protests, which it described as "illegal activity".Hong Kong authorities meanwhile are caught between protester demands, Beijing's uncompromising stance and efforts to keep the city running.
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