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Hong Kong students ponder retreat

Hong Kong student leaders say they are considering retreating from protest sites on city streets after more than two months in the latest sign that momentum is fading in their movement for greater democracy.

Members of the Hong Kong Federation of Students said they are mulling whether to stay.

Spokeswoman Yvonne Leung told a local radio station that the group hopes to come to a decision within the next week.

Joshua Wong, the 18-year-old leader of Scholarism, said on his social media accounts that his group will discuss and co-ordinate with the federation on the decision.

The two groups have played key roles in organising the protests.

The founders of Occupy Central, which also played a role in the protests, called this week for them to end.

The protesters have few options left after rallying supporters in a failed bid earlier this week to surround government headquarters that resulted in a night of violent clashes with police armed with batons and pepper spray.

Public support for the protesters has fallen as the government has stuck to its apparent strategy of waiting them out.

Wong and four other members of Scholarism started a hunger strike this week to try to force the government to resume talks over the students' demands, which include dropping Beijing's requirement to screen candidates for inaugural 2017 elections.

Tommy Cheung, a Federation member, said "withdrawing or not withdrawing, any tactics, any methods will be considered".

"The federation will discuss the next step in our plan ... At the moment there's no clear-cut decision," he said.

The three founders and about 60 supporters turned themselves into police yesterday in a symbolic move to show they wanted to move on, but police let them go.

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