Thousands of protestors gathered at Hong Kong’s Tamar Park last night in a rally organized by the pro-democracy group Occupy Central, hours after Beijing denied voters the right to publicly nominate candidates in the 2017 chief executive election.
Police estimated that more than 2,600 people were in attendance at the rally during its peak, although other reports have put the estimate at around 5,000. Occupy’s co-founder Benny Tai led a press conference in cooperation with members of the Alliance for True Democracy, Scholarism, and the Federation of Students, saying that more information on the movement would be released in coming weeks.
“When the date comes, people will know,” he said. “We no longer want to create news. From now on we will stand high as members of civil disobedience.”
The National People’s Congress yesterday approved plans for the voting reform that would call for two to three chief executive candidates to get over half the votes of the 1,200-member Nominating Committee. Critics said that politicians with dissenting views will effectively have no chance of making it on the ballot.
In June, nearly 800,000 Hong Kong residents voted in an unofficial referendum organized by Occupy Central calling for an open nomination process in the 2017 elections.
Around 172,000 people in Hong Kong marched for democracy on July 1, and an anti-occupy Central on August 17 saw around 88,000 people, according to University of Hong Kong.