Hong Kong's leaders sought to maximise the pressure on pro-democracy campaigners last night, demanding that protesters lift their blockade on main roads so nearby schools can reopen today.
The authorities are using the start of the working week to compel the demonstrators to allow normal life to resume. All secondary schools on Hong Kong Island have been told to reopen and 3,000 civil servants have been instructed to go to work as usual at the central government offices.
Yet that building is currently blockaded by protesters. They have also placed barricades across the two main thoroughfares running across the island.
Last night, the protesters were split over whether to stop blockading the offices. They also disagreed over whether to wind up their secondary protest camps in the Mong Kok and Causeway areas and consolidate all activists at the main Admiralty area.
Tens of thousands of people, many of them students (inset), have poured into the streets of the semi-autonomous city over the past week to peacefully protest China's restrictions on the first-ever direct election for Hong Kong's top leader, promised by Beijing for 2017.
But with the standoff between the protesters and the government in its eighth day, tempers were flaring among residents who oppose the occupation of the streets and the disruption it has brought.