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Hong Kong leader demands protests end 'immediately'

Hong Kong's chief executive Leung Chun-ying Tuesday called on protest leaders to "immediately" withdraw their followers from the streets in his first public comments since demonstrators were tear gassed by police.

"Occupy Central founders had said repeatedly that if the movement is getting out of control, they would call for it to stop. I'm now asking them to fulfil the promise they made to society, and stop this campaign immediately," Leung said.

Occupy Central is the main grassroots group behind the last two days of street protests.

A number of student groups who are separate from Occupy are also spearheading the campaign for genuine democracy in the former British colony.

However Occupy rejected Leung's demands and renewed its calls for him to step down.

"If Leung Chun-ying announces his resignation, this occupation will be at least temporarily stopped in a short period of time, and we will decide on the next move," co-founder Chan Kin-man told reporters after Leung's comments.

"This would be a very important signal, then at least we know the government has changed their attitude and wants to solve this crisis," he said. (AFP)