Hong Kong Student Leader 'Optimistic' Before Government Deadline to Clear Protesters

PHOTO: Joshua Wong, 17, says he hopes to "motivate more citizens to care about the future of Hong Kong."PlayABC News
WATCH Hong Kong Protest Leader 'Quite Optimistic' About Movement

As the deadline given to protesters in Hong Kong to clear out quickly approaches, at least one student leader of the Occupy Central movement in Hong Kong says he remains "optimistic" about the movement.

The protests began on Sept. 28 after the Chinese government in Beijing said in August that the people of Hong Kong could elect their own leader by 2017 if the candidates were pre-screened by the central government. Days after police failed to disperse protesters with tear gas and pepper spray, Hong Kong's chief executive Leung Chun-ying warned on Saturday that protesters must be cleared out by Monday.

ABC News' Muhammad Lila spoke today with Joshua Wong, 17, a student leader of the pro-democracy protests who said he has been organizing the occupation of Citizens' Square for two years.

Wong said the movement of civil disobedience has brought hope in the call for political reform.

When asked if he was worried about the government's deadline for the protesters to clear the streets by Monday, Wong said, "No, I'm quite optimistic."

The protesters are showing "persistence" in using non-violence for "true universal suffrage," he said.

The responsibility for clearing the roads and the consequences of how it is done will be on the policemen, Wong said.

He said he isn't worried about potential violence tonight, because the demonstrators have been adhering to the principle of non-violence for more than a week.

When asked about the pressure of leading a movement of tens of thousands of people, Wong deferred to others in the Occupy Central movement.

"I don't think I'm really a true leader in the movement, because actually while this action occurred of occupying the road, I'm still being kept at the police station," he said. "I still hope to motivate more citizens to care about the future of Hong Kong."