Hong Kong's civil servants returned to work and schools were reopening Monday as a massive pro-democracy protest that has occupied much of the city center for the week dwindled. Student demonstrators say they have taken early steps to begin talks with the government on their demands for wider political reforms, but actual negotiations have not started and many disagreements remain.
At the government headquarters, where some protesters agreed to remove barriers blocking roads Sunday ahead of the government's deadline to scale back their protests, the scene was orderly as government officials arrived for work as a few dozen remaining protesters looked on.
The crowds had thinned markedly after a week that saw tens of thousands of people fill the streets in peaceful protest. In Mong Kok, another protest site across the harbor where protesters had clashed violently with their opponents, a few hundred activists were staying put at the sit-in site.
Students occupying an area just outside city government headquarters agreed to remove some barricades that were blocking the building's entrance, after the government said it would do whatever was necessary to ensure 3,000 civil servants would have full access to their offices on Monday.
The partial withdrawal appeared to be part of a strategy to regroup in another part of town, as protesters were urged to shift from other areas to Hong Kong's Admiralty shopping and business district, a central location near the government's main offices that has served as an informal headquarters for the protests.
Protesters had feared that officials may clear the streets by force, but by Monday it's clear the government was settling for a partial victory in clearing some roads. The government indicated some disruptions were likely to continue.
- The Associated Press