HONG KONG -- The unrest in Hong Kong is unlikely to end anytime soon, with the government and pro-democracy protesters still refusing to compromise, fueling frustrations among local residents tired of the heavy traffic jams caused by sit-ins in the city center.
The Hong Kong government's chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, appeared on television Sunday and again denied protesters demands that he resign and that the National People's Congress' decision to screen candidates in the 2017 election for chief executive be overturned.
Leung is slated to stay in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, Sunday and Monday for an economic forum. During his visit there, he may meet with Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the Congress' standing committee, to discuss the path forward, according to Hong Kong media reports.
On Wednesday, news broke that Leung had received 4 million pounds ($6.43 million in today's exchange rate) in 2011 from an Australian company. Leung countered that he has not been involved with the business since becoming Hong Kong's chief executive, and thus has not done anything illegal.
He also stressed that the decision to use tear gas to disperse protesters was made by police leaders on-site.
Leung once again rejected protesters' demands by noting that any electoral reforms must be based on Hong Kong's Basic Law and endorsed by the National People's Congress.
The protesters, an alliance of college and secondary student groups and pro-democracy activists, released a joint statement insisting that Leung step down quickly to restore people's trust in the government.
More than two weeks have passed since demonstrators started sit-ins around government headquarters, but the gap between the two remains wide, with both sides refusing to compromise.
Hong Kong residents are growing frustrated about heavy traffic jams due to the protests. About 40 members of a construction workers' association rallied Sunday against the sit-ins, complaining that deliveries of construction materials are being obstructed. A group of residents also demonstrated in the Causeway Bay area shopping district against the occupation.