Protesters in Hong Kong are planning demonstrations on Guy Fawkes day. Fawkes has become a powerful symbol in the ongoing protests against China, whereby protesters are demanding democracy.
Hong Kong's acting Matthew Cheung leader said on Tuesday he deeply regretted the involvement of civil servants in protests that have plunged the Chinese-ruled city into crisis as activists planned masked "Guy Fawkes" demonstrations across the territory.
Acting Chief Executive Matthew Cheung's comments came after commentary by the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily said Hong Kong civil servants who supported the anti-government demonstrations would "perish with the rioters".
The demonstrations began over a since-scrapped extradition bill and escalated in mid-June against perceived Chinese meddling in the former British colony which was guaranteed its colonial freedoms when it returned to China in 1997. China denies the charge.
Protesters have kept up their calls for universal suffrage and an independent enquiry into alleged police brutality, among other demands.
The protests, which pose the gravest challenge to Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012, have received broad support, including from some civil servants, teachers and financial sector workers.
After gatecrashing fancy-dress Halloween festivities on October 31, protesters have circulated plans on social media to mark Guy Fawkes Day on Tuesday by wearing the white, smiling Guy Fawkes masks made popular by anti-establishment hackers, the film "V for Vendetta" and protesters globally.
The number of people who take part in the mostly weekend rallies has dwindled from the millions who participated in June, but the violence and vandalism have escalated. Authorities have refused permits for many recent protests, making them illegal from the outset and activists liable to be arrested.