Tens Of Thousands March In Hong Kong Against Chinese Rule

Tens Of Thousands March In Hong Kong Against Chinese Rule

Hong Kong saw more demonstrations over Chinese control of the prosperous financial hub as tens of thousands of protesters marched on Wednesday for full democracy, free of Chinese interference. The protesters also called on the Chinese-controlled city's leader to resign even after elected officials voted down an electoral reform package sponsored by China.

An estimated 48,000 marched on the anniversary of Hong Kong's return from British to Chinese rule in 1997, well below last year's protest of more than half a million people.

"I want real universal suffrage" the crowds screamed while holding yellow umbrellas, an icon of the "Umbrella Movement" last year that saw protesters blocking major roads to pressure China to allow direct elections in 2017.

"Hong Kong people have been through a lot and they've mobilized massively over the past few years," said Johnson Yeung, of Civil Human Rights Front, who organized the march.

"So after the veto, it's quite natural for them to want to take a rest."

Also present at the march were pro-Beijing groups who hurled insults from the sidelines while police attempted to separate the two sides.

The full diversity of opinions on the issue was on display with some activists calling for a "Hong Kong nation", while others waved colonial-era flags featuring a British Union Jack.

"Remake the future of our city. Build a democratic Hong Kong," one protester shouted.

The march comes nearly two weeks after Hong Kong's legislature vetoed a Beijing-approved electoral reform package that would have allowed a direct vote for Hong Kong's next leader in 2017, but only from among pre-approved, pro-Beijing candidates. The proposal was swiftly and loudly denounced as "fake" democracy by residents.

Hong Kong returned to Chinese control under a "one country, two systems" promise that granted the city western-style freedoms denied on the mainland, such as the freedom to protest.

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