Hong Kong protesters march against 'false democracy'

Protesters gathered in Victoria Park in central Causeway Bay and then marched against Hong Kong government’s electoral reform package

Hong Kong protesters march against 'false democracy'

World Bulletin / News Desk 

Several thousand pro-democracy supporters marched in Hong Kong Sunday in the latest effort to urge lawmakers to vote against Beijing-backed elections - a protest that last year led to an 11-week standoff on the territory's streets.

The South China Morning Post reported that the turnout had however fallen short of expectations.

Organisers put the drop down to public feeling that a battle to encourage lawmakers to vote against Beijing control may already be won.

“It might have to do with the recent reverse in public opinion [according to surveys conducted by universities]. People now feel more confident that the proposal will be voted down,” Sam Yip Kam-lung of the Citizens Against Pseudo-Universal Suffrage Campaign, told journalists after the march, according to the Post.

“People might have decided to save their energies for later,” he added.

Protesters gathered in Victoria Park in central Causeway Bay and then marched to city government headquarters - many carrying the yellow umbrellas that became symbolic of the 2014 protests while chanting pro democracy slogans and shouting against universal suffrage.

The rally was organised by an alliance of about 20 pro-democracy groups, from which the Pseudo-Universal Suffrage Campaign was formed.

On Wednesday, the government is due to table a reform package for the 2017 chief executive election.

Protesters have been calling for a fully democratic vote with open nominations for the territory's next leader.

The Chinese government says it will allow "one man, one vote" suffrage, but that candidates will have to be approved by a body loyal to Beijing. 

Demonstrators have said that they will start to gather outside government headquarters from Sunday to attempt to pressure pan-democrats to not pass the plan.

The rally will run through to the end of the week, when lawmakers are expected to vote.

The Post reported Sunday that all 27 pan-democratic lawmakers have vowed to vote against the proposal, as they consider it a package of false democracy under Beijing's framework.

The Hong Kong government needs at least four pan-democratic votes to get the package past a Legislative Council vote. 

Labour Party chairman Lee Cheuk-yan said Sunday that he was confident that the proposal wouldn't pass.

“We will definitely vote down the proposal,” Lee told the rally.

Prior to Sunday's protest, police said they had seized "offensive" objects from a small encampment outside the government offices.

Wood, glass bottles and a "chopper" were among items taken away, reported the Post.

Last year's Occupy Central protests saw main roads blocked for 79-days before sites were finally cleared in December.

The protests, which involved more than 100,000 people at their peak, were seen as one of the most serious challenges to China's authority since the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests that ended with a bloody crackdown in Beijing.

Although they were predominantly peaceful, police were heavily criticised for violence against demonstrators.

Such use of force produced a public backlash, with people flocking to the sites to show their solidarity with the demonstrations and their distaste for police tactics.

Support for the occupation, however, slipped in its last few weeks, with surveys showing the public favored an end to the disruption.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula that promised a high degree of autonomy from Beijing, including universal suffrage.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Haziran 2015, 16:24