About 13,000 Hongkongers calling for genuine universal suffrage in the 2017 election for chief executive took to the streets Sunday, a few holding banners advocating independence for the city.
Most of the protesters held yellow signs bearing the slogan “I want genuine universal suffrage” and an umbrella symbol.
The march, organized by the Civil Human Rights Front, was the first large rally since the 79-day Occupy movement ended last month.
About 10 protesters showed up with banners saying “HK independence” or held Hong Kong flags from the British colonial era. Some protesters held made-up “Hong Kong flags” as a symbol of the city’s autonomy.
One of those with a “HK independence” banner said he had joined the rally as an individual, and his action should not have a negative impact on the theme of the demonstration, Ming Pao Daily reported Monday.
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying recently warned Hongkongers that they must be vigilant against any attempt to advocate independence for the city.
Daisy Chan Sin-ying, convener of the Civil Human Rights Front, told the newspaper the group’s focus is human rights, and its principles do not conflict with the thoughts represented by any flag.
She stressed that the group does not hold any particular stance on independence for Hong Kong.
The organizers said the number of protesters was a little more than a quarter of the 50,000 they had hoped for.
Police estimated 8,800 people took part in the march at its peak, the report said.
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