Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Hong Kong Tuesday to mark the anniversary of its handover to China and demand democratic reform.
By nightfall, the turnout had been put at 510,000, the biggest since the observance began, according to Civil Human Rights Front, organizer of the march.
Police estimated the crowd at 98,000 and the Public Opinion Program of the University of Hong Kong put it at 172,000, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday.
The marchers demanded “real suffrage” in the election of the next chief executive in 2017 and expressed their dissatisfaction with the government under Leung Chun-ying.
Some denounced a white paper issued recently by China on its Hong Kong policy under the “one country, two systems” doctrine.
On Tuesday night, hours after the march, some demonstrators staged a sit-in in Central which its student organizers said was a prelude to a planned civil disobedience protest by the Occupy Central movement.
Police moved in on the demonstrators after they refused to leave by 1:30 a.m. and several arrests were made, according to reports.
Meanwhile, a group of protesters from student group Scholarism led by Joshua Wong surrounded the Chief Executive office in Admiralty.
Albert Ho, former chairman of the Democratic Party, said the demonstrators showed strong will and unmatched courage, comparing their enthusiasm to that in 2003 when many people stood up against proposed changes to the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s mini constitution.
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