Thousands rally in Hong Kong to call for democracy
Thousands of protesters, some waving British colonial-era flags, marched in Hong Kong to denounce the city’s leaders and demand universal suffrage on the 16th anniversary of the territory’s handover to China.
Tropical Storm Rumbia brought rain and strong winds as demonstrators bearing banners saying ‘Democracy now’ and ‘Down with Chinese Communist Party’ started off from the city’s landmark Victoria Park to march to the financial district of central Hong Kong.
The annual rally for democracy comes amid concerns that Beijing is increasingly meddling in local affairs. A widening income gap and soaring property prices have also contributed to the turnout as protesters focused their anger on unpopular chief executive Leung Chun-ying.
‘The main goal of the rally is to push through for genuine democracy and to ask for Leung Chun-ying to step down,’ said Jackie Hung of the Civil Human Rights Front, which is organising the march said.
The rally comes after a survey published by the Hong Kong University found only 33 per cent of Hong Kongers took pride in being a Chinese national, the lowest level since 1998.
Leung was appointed by a pro-Beijing committee last July, promising to improve governance and uphold the rule of law in the territory of seven million people. He is charged with overseeing the transition to universal suffrage to appoint the city’s leader, which was promised by 2017, though critics say little or no progress has been made on the issue.