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Hong Kong leader rules out police force, but urges protests must end

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Protesters sleep on the streets outside the Hong Kong Government Complex at sunrise on Sept. 30, 2014 in Hong Kong. Thousands of pro democracy supporters have remained in the streets of Hong Kong for another day of protests. Protestors are unhappy with Chinese government's plans to vet candidates in Hong Kong's 2017 elections. (Photo by Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Friday urged protesters to stop demonstrations and their blockades in the city centre.

Tens of thousands have taken to Hong Kong’s streets in the past week to demand full democracy in the former British colony, including a free voting system when they come to choose a new leader in 2017.

“I think this action is affecting the emergency services. It is creating anarchy in Hong Kong. I understand that Scholarism, the Hong Kong Federation of Students, and Occupy Central with Peace and Love don’t associate themselves with leading any of the protesters. But I still call upon them as initiators of the movement to urge protesters to leave in a peaceful and orderly manner,” he said.

“I won’t consider the use of the police force to clear the area in the short term, but this cannot continue for a long time,” Leung added.

Scholarism, the Hong Kong Federation of Students, and Occupy Central with Peace and Love have distanced themselves from the protesters gathered around the Central Government Office and the Chief Executive’s Office and said in a collective statement they had “nothing to do with them”.

Leung has agreed to open talks with pro-democracy protesters but refused to stand down. He and his Chinese government backers made clear that they would not back down in the face of the city’s worst unrest in decades.