DROVES of protesters have filled public parks and squares in several Hong Kong districts in a general strike staged on a weekday to draw more attention to their demands that the semi-autonomous Chinese city’s leader resign.

Police deployed tear gas in the Wong Tai Sin district, following clashes with protesters over the weekend.

They have painted “Revolution of our Times” on one side of the building’s exterior.

The general strike led to more than 200 flight cancellations at the city’s airport and protesters disrupted subway services during the morning commute.

Nevertheless, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam maintained that she has no plans to resign in the face of the turbulent pro-democracy movement.

Hong Kong is on “the verge of a very dangerous situation”, Ms Lam said.

MEANWHILE, Pakistan’s foreign minister has rejected India’s revocation of the disputed Kashmir region’s special constitutional status, saying

the move violates a UN resolution.

Foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told reporters that Pakistan would step up diplomatic efforts to prevent the revocation made by presidential order from coming into effect.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and both claim the region in its entirety.

The president of Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, Sardar Masood Khan, also rejected India’s presidential order and said that India “can go to war” with Pakistan in such a situation.

ELSEWHERE, environmental groups and workers’ unions have called for measures to ensure that workers cleaning up the fire-ravaged Notre Dame Cathedral and nearby residents are protected from toxic pollution.

Clean-up work at the Paris cathedral was suspended last month over concerns about lead risks.

Officials plan to resume work later this month under stricter protection rules.

At a news conference, environmental groups and unionists warned against lead particles polluting the air in the area, and asked for a regularly updated chart showing pollution levels.

Hundreds of tons of toxic lead in Notre Dame’s spire and roof melted during the April fire.

FINALLY, a multiple-vehicle crash on a Cairo street in front of Egypt’s main cancer hospital set off an explosion that triggered a fire outside the building, killing 19 people, authorities have said.

The crash and the explosion also injured 30 others, the health ministry said, but it was not immediately clear if any of the casualties were inside the hospital.

The Interior Ministry said a vehicle driving against the traffic had collided with up to three others late on Sunday.