September 2, 2014 / 8:51 AM / 5 years ago

Hong Kong pro-democracy group says support fizzles: Bloomberg

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A Hong Kong pro-democracy movement that has threatened to blockade the financial district to protest against Beijing ruling out full democracy for the city said support for the group has dwindled, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday.

“The number of people joining us will not be as big as we expect, because of the very pragmatic thinking of Hong Kong people,” Occupy Central with Love and Peace founder Benny Tai told Bloomberg.

Tai had originally said he expected 10,000 demonstrators to lock down the heart of the Asian financial center - home to global companies and banks such as HSBC Holdings and Standard Chartered - to protest against Beijing ruling out full democracy in elections for the city’s leader in 2017.

He said that number was now “maybe” possible, according to Bloomberg. Tai said he doesn’t expect his Occupy movement to change the “political reality” of China’s decision not to allow full democracy in the former British colony.

Tai was not immediately available for comment.

Occupy Central has launched a campaign of civil disobedience in recent months, calling for full democracy with an unofficial referendum, marches and sit-ins. There have been clashes with police.

Beijing has responded by saying Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, subject to Communist Party rule. Beijing has said it will permit a vote for Hong Kong’s next chief executive, but only among a handful of pre-screened candidates.

On Sunday, Beijing rejected demands that Hong Kong be allowed to freely choose its next leader in 2017. Hong Kong police on Monday used pepper spray to disperse protesters.

Reporting by Anne Marie Roantree, Clare Baldwin and Farah Master; Editing by Jeremy Laurence

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