Clutching banners and chanting slogans, tens of thousands of protesters have staged a pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong that organisers say could be the largest since the city was handed back to China. The rally on Tuesday reflects surging discontent over Beijing’s insistence that it vet candidates before a vote in 2017 for the semi-autonomous region’s next leader. The march comes after nearly 800,000 people voted in an informal referendum to demand a electoral mechanism to nominate candidates. The poll has irked Beijing, which branded it ‘‘illegal and invalid’’ despite the unexpectedly high turnout.
The annual July 1 rally, marking the day the territory returned to China, was tipped to draw the largest crowd since 2003, when half a million people turned out.
The Hong Kong government urged residents on Tuesday not to undermine the city’s stability and prosperity as security was stepped up in the Asian financial centre. Banks and companies in the heart of the business district have made contingency plans in case protesters linger and block roads on Wednesday.
A recent survey by the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Program found that 33 per cent of respondents had a negative opinion of the Beijing policies towards the city, The New York Times reported, while 31 per cent percent viewed Beijing’s policies favourably.
Full Article: Tens of thousands turn out for Hong Kong democracy march.