Hong Kong police fire tear gas, water cannon after protesters hurl petrol bombs

For months, October 1 has loomed over the mass pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong, as a whispered deadline for the ruling Chinese Communist Party to take action to end the unrest.

On that day, Beijing will be hoping to project an image of national strength and unity with a military parade through the city to mark 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

It’s a significant milestone that China’s leaders will not want overshadowed by protests in Hong Kong, which have grown in intensity since mass demonstrations began in June.

But what action the party might take is unclear and highly debated, with some even saying the greater threat will be after the anniversary, if protesters disrupt or distract from the day’s celebrations and embarrass the country’s Communist leaders.

The Hong Kong government has said there is no such deadline for action by Beijing to end the protests. In audio leaked to Reuters, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam can be heard reassuring business leaders that “they and ourselves have no expectations that we could clear up this thing before the 1st of October.”

But the whispers have continued, with no clear consensus on what October 1 might mean for Hong Kong.

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