Thousands of people marched in Hong Kong on Sunday, demanding lawmakers reject a Beijing-endorsed framework for the 2017 chief executive election.
Lawmakers are due to begin deliberations on the election reform bill on Wednesday and vote on it shortly after.
The marchers, estimated at 3,500, included civil rights groups and pro-democracy activists, but the number was short of the 50,000 projected by organizers.
Police put the figure at 3,140.
The marchers walked four kilometers from Victoria Park to the Legislative Council building where they pressed their campaign under the theme “citizens against pseudo-universal suffrage”, according Ming Pao Daily.
Police erected barricades to prevent clashes after pro-reform groups heckled the marchers.
Sam Yip Kam-lung, a campaign leader, said the low attendance might have been due to recent polls which show more Hong Kong people expect the bill to be rejected.
Joshua Wong, leader of student activist group Scholarism, said fewer students turned out because they are preparing for their final exams.
He expects a bigger attendance on Wednesday.
And Nathan Law, secretary general of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, said Hong Kong people are more confident pan-democrats will not pass the proposal.
Law and Wong said given the high level of confidence about its rejection, there are no plans to escalate the campaign beyond the vote.
Democratic Party legislator Wong Pik-wan reminded the protesters to refrain from provocative behavior that could give Legco chairman Jasper Tsang an excuse to delay the voting.
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