Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Hong Kong in what the organiser claimed was a rally for Hong Kong’s political future.
At the core of the annual demonstration is Beijing’s attempts to influence the outcome of direct elections for the city’s leader in 2017.
Protesters are demanding that anyone should be allowed to put their name forward as a candidate including critics of the Chinese authorities and say this is just the start of their action.
“Our theme today is to demand universal suffrage and to have civic nominations which is a system that guarantees that there is no screenings of our CE (Chief Executive) elections,” Johnson Yeung the protest organiser told reporters.
Peter Tsui a 65-year-old protester explained his presence at the demonstration. “I’m protesting because every chief executive we have had has not been good because they were appointed by Beijing. If we get to choose our own chief executive it’ll be better,” he opined.
Chinese officials say Hong Kong’s constitution states all candidates must be endorsed by an election committee. The majority are Beijing loyalists.
The protest rally included the staging of an unofficial referendum. Future action could include a protest aimed at shutting down the central business district of the city which is one of Asia’s most important financial centres.
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