Opposing groups are continuing to pour into a public square outside the Legislative Council building with a vote on a controversial election reform bill expected anytime soon.
The measure goes into a second day of debate Thursday after it was presented by Chief Secretary Carrie Lam with an appeal to legislators to use their vote to heal divisions in Hong Kong.
A vote could come before the week is out, possibly as early as Thursday afternoon, according to reports.
Apple Daily is reporting that pro-government supporters, led by the Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD), have returned to the square.
On Wednesday, they picked Tamar Park as a staging area for a pro-reform rally outside Legco.
A group of Putonghua-speaking people with numbered t-shirts told reporters they had come to show their solidarity with the government.
Others said they were from the Hong Kong Federation of Trade Unions and had traveled from Fujian, Chaoshan and Shanwei.
The groups appeared to work in shifts, with a new batch taking over after a period of time, according to Apple Daily.
APD leader Robert Chow said he had no idea about the numbered t-shirts after some netizens claimed they were for identification and payment purposes.
Also, Chow said Putonghua speakers are not unusual in public rallies.
He put the pro-reform turnout at 10,000-strong.
About 2,000 pro-democracy activists held a competing rally.
A few minor scuffles broke out but most of the incidents involved heckling. No arrests or injuries were reported.
The pro-democracy group was joined in the evening by Benny Tai Yiu-ting, Reverend Chu Yiu-ming and Chan Kin-man, founders of the Occupy Central Movement which played a key role in last year’s protests.
Tai, who expects the bill to be voted down, said all political parties should start considering ways to achieve universal suffrage.
– Contact us at email@example.com