Student protesters in Hong Kong will hold a street vote on government reform proposals tomorrow in an effort to show officials that there is overwhelming support for democracy.
"We are holding the poll to show how many supporters we have," a student protester says in the following video from BRTE News, which features footage from Live Leak.
The students will reportedly use a mobile app to conduct the poll, which will ask voters how they feel about Hong Kong officials' offer to submit a report to the central government in Beijing acknowledging the protests. The poll will survey students about what they would like the report to include, such as a request that China back down from its plan to select the candidates that will appear on the ballot in Hong Kong in 2017. China had earlier said Hong Kong residents could select the candidates, but backed away from that promise, sparking the protests. Some protesters have vocally rejected the idea of sending Beijing a report, saying no change will come from the report because it does not require the government to make any concessions.
Government officials have declined to release official polling, which protesters believe indicates support for democracy.
It remains unclear how many people will participate in the mobile poll, and how regulated it will be. Regardless of the results, officials seem unlikely to budge.
“I really see a lot of intransigence,” Michael Kugelman, an Asia expert at the Wilson Center recently told Fusion, “and a lack of ability to read the will of the public, the sentiments on the street.”s
Protests have occupied several neighborhoods in Hong Kong for the past month, with students calling on the government to allow free elections. While government officials agreed to meet with students and hear their demands, they have not yielded to calls for open elections, in which Hong Kong residents select the candidates, in 2017.
The government has repeatedly urged the students to disperse and stop disrupting traffic and commerce, and said they do not represent the views of the majority of Hong Kong residents.
But the students say the poll is a way to show the government that there is wide support for government reform. The protesters plan to share the poll results with government officials next week.
Emily DeRuy is a Washington, D.C.-based associate editor, covering education, reproductive rights, and inequality. A San Francisco native, she enjoys Giants baseball and misses Philz terribly.