Thousands turn out for Hong Kong democracy protest

(APTN)

Tens of thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Hong Kong on Tuesday, calling for greater democracy in the former British colony.

The rally was fuelled by anger over Beijing’s recent warning that it holds the ultimate authority over the southern Chinese financial centre.

The peaceful crowds carried banners and posters calling for democracy as they marched through the center of the city.

Organisers expected the crowd to swell to least 150-thousand for the march to press for reforms allowing residents to elect their leader.

The protest comes days after nearly 800-thosuand residents voted in a mock referendum aimed at bolstering support for full democracy.

Pro-democracy activists, encouraged by the strong turnout for their informal referendum, vowed to shut down the city’s financial district if the government failed to come up with electoral reforms that don’t meet international standards.

Much of the hostility is directed at the “white paper” released by China’s Cabinet in June which enraged many residents.

It said that Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy was not inherent but was authorised by the central government.

The fallout over the White Paper has added to the widening rift between with the mainland.

Hong Kongers mistrust of the central government in Beijing and its policies toward the city have spiked to record highs, according to opinion surveys released separately Monday by two universities.

Hong Kong University, which polled 963 people by phone for its survey, also found that the percentage of people who are proud of being Chinese is at the lowest point since 1998.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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