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Hong Kong students reject closed-door talks with city leader

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The damage caused by protesters inside Hong Kong's Legislative Council building on Monday as seen during a media tour of the premises yesterday

A man holds a card while joining a rally by mothers In Hong Kong on Friday, Jan. 5, 2019. This followed mass demonstrations last month against Lam's extradition bill, which critics fear could see Hong Kong citizens sent for trial in the mainland.Lam, who is backed by Beijing, said she has paused efforts to push for the bill, but protesters are demanding a full withdrawal.

But her invitation later in the week to meet behind closed doors was rebuffed by student unions at two Hong Kong universities as insincere and a publicity gimmick.

Forensic investigators have been combing through the trashed parliament for fingerprint and DNA evidence that might help them uncover which protesters were involved in the breach that left the building wrecked, its walls daubed with slogans such as "HK is not China" and a colonial era flag pinned to the legislature's podium.

The student leaders also demanded that Lam drop all charges against protestors before they would agree to a meeting.

Activists have also circulated plans for a new protest on Sunday via the encrypted app Telegram which will take place in Kowloon - an area of the city popular with mainland Chinese tourists who are subject to heavily censored news across the border. "The public has the right to know".

"We don't understand why she didn't openly respond to the people's demands but prefer to do it through a closed-door meeting", Pang said.

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong frequently invoke that deal and call on the United Kingdom to intervene when they feel its terms are being ignored; demonstrators who entered the Legislative Council building unfurled a Union Jack-emblazoned colonial flag as part of their protests.

Hong Kong's government has suspended a controversial extradition bill indefinitely after protests that drew hundreds of thousands of people to the streets. Many saw the proposed legislation as a threat to the rights guaranteed to Hong Kong under the "one country, two systems" framework that governs it. The protesters remain unsatisfied and have escalated their tactics.

Students have echoed opposition calls in recent weeks for the withdrawing of the extradition bill, for Lam to step down and for an investigation into complaints of police brutality against protesters.

They blocked streets and government buildings and besieged the police headquarters twice before storming the legislature on Monday.

A 31-year-old man was reportedly charged Friday with assaulting a police officer and criminal damage, while 12 other suspects have been detained in connection with other public order violations, including possessing weapons. The legislature has made a decision to suspend meeting until October for repairs to the heavily damaged complex. He was the first of those arrested to do so. He was denied bail.

Police have yet to release a tally on how many have been arrested over the month of protests but local media have reported dozens have been detained so far.

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