China's Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said Monday the Occupy Central movement had severely affected citizens' life, hoping to get life in Hong Kong back to normal as soon as possible without causing a huge conflict.
Leung made the remarks in Guangzhou where he was attending the Pan-Pearl River Delta Regional Cooperation and Development Forum. He has also reiterated that he would not step down.
Speaking after attending the forum, Leung said the police had been dealing with the Occupy Central movement with "maximum tolerance". He also said the situation could not go on forever, urging protesters to leave the streets.
SOCIAL GRIEVANCES PILE UP
Local transport officials say the MTR network has reached a " critical point" with a 20 percent increase in passengers since the protests began over two weeks ago.
Assistant Commissioner for Transport Albert Su warned that traffic congestion is expected on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon on Tuesday, saying a four-day event at the Convention and Exhibition Center in Wan Chai would add to the situation.
Builders also urged an end to protests. Forty representatives of the Construction Industry Employees General Union have visited protesters in Admiralty to try to persuade them to stop their action.
They said the protests had lengthened their journeys to and from work, and had stopped them from getting building materials to the construction sites in Admiralty and Wan Chai, which meant more than a thousand workers had been forced to down tools.
Meanwhile, around 20 taxi drivers appealed for an end to the protests, saying business was down by between 30 and 50 percent.
Representatives of the catering industry have complained that the protests are affecting business and urged the government and students to hold talks.
Lawmaker Tommy Cheung who represents the catering section said 40 percent of the restaurants in Central, Causeway Bay and Mong Kok had seen business slump by 40 percent in the past two weeks.
He said 32 percent of them had been forced to slash their business hours, while half of them had to reduce working hours of their staff due to the lack of customers.
Allan Zeman, chairman of Lan Kwai Fong Holdings, said traffic problems are taking their toll on restaurant staff. "Many of the restaurants close early as they want to send their people and staff home early," he said.
"A lot of confidence in Hong Kong is being lost. This has gone on for too long and we must find a way to finish this," he said.