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Hong Kong government bails on talks as students vow more protests

HONG KONG — The government in Hong Kong backed out of talks with leaders of the pro-democracy protests Thursday, saying it would not meet with them after they had called on their supporters to come back to the streets to keep up pressure on the authorities.

That was an unacceptable threat, Hong Kong's number two official said.

The announcement set the stage for further confrontation between protesters and the government, and could breathe new life into street protests that had been dwindling steadily this week.

Student leaders immediately responded by redoubling their calls for people to return to the streets this evening to put fresh pressure on the government, and, shortly after the government's announcement, several thousand gathered at the main protest site.

The first round of talks had been scheduled for today.