More than 5,000 people gathered at Hong Kong’s Tamar Park on Sunday night, calling Beijing’s framework for the 2017 chief executive election “fake universal suffrage”, Apple Daily reported Monday.
Benny Tai, a founder of the Occupy Central movement that is at the forefront of the struggle for universal suffrage, declared that Hong Kong has entered an era of civil disobedience. He urged people to join hands and resist Beijing’s ruling.
Earlier in the day, the National People’s Congress (NPC) Standing Committee passed its universal suffrage framework allowing for one person, one vote.
But it ruled that candidates for the chief executive election must secure the approval of half of the 1,200-member nominating committee, and there can only be two or three candidates.
This sparked the angry protest at the government headquarters at Tamar Park. A police estimate put the turnout at 2,640 people.
Chan Kin-man, another founder of Occupy Central, said August 31 is the city’s darkest day. The people of Hong Kong people will continue to let their voice be heard whether Beijing listens or not, he said.
Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, convenor of the Alliance for True Democracy, said Hong Kong people will keep demonstrating to the world their long-term and peaceful resistance.
The three founders of the civil disobedience movement, including Chu Yiu-ming, said the rally is not an end and participants will regroup again in Central. They also said demonstrations and class boycotts by students will follow soon.
In contrast to Beijing’s ruling on qualifying chief executive candidates, pro-democracy groups are demanding that every citizen should have the right to nominate a candidate.
More than 20 pan-democracy legislators vowed to the protesters that they will do their best to veto the NPC decision.
The Civil Human Rights Front will today distribute yellow ribbons to the public all over the city, hoping everyone will wear it and urge their acquaintances to join the Occupy Central action.
Li Fei, deputy secretary-general of the NPC Standing Committee and chairman of the Basic Law Committee, is set to present the universal suffrage framework in Hong Kong today.
More than 1,100 protesters spilled over from the Tamar Park rally to protest at the Grand Hyatt hotel where Li was staying. Police took away several demonstrators who were involved in scuffles.
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