Hong Kong protests mark 6-month mark with massive rally


Protesters will begin at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay at 3 p.m. (2 a.m. ET) and march through the main island to Chater Road in Central, according to the CHRF, who are pegging the rally to global Human Rights Day, which falls on December 10 and marks the United Nations' adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

But protesters have expanded their demands to include an investigation into police brutality, setting protesters free, and universal suffrage.

Chants of "Fight for freedom!"

The large turnout on Sunday signaled still broad support for the anti-government demonstrations despite the escalating unrest in a city where violence is rare. "We don't want to become like China".

Police granted the protest a letter of no-objection Friday, the first time a march organized by the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) has been approved since August.

The mood at the march was relaxed, with people taking selfies against a backdrop of the vast crowds. Hong Kong's economy has slid into a recession and the pain has rippled across the retail, tourism and hospitality sectors. The pro-Beijing camp lost more than 200 of the 452 district seats, handing the pro-democracy camp a landslide victory.

Wong declined to comment specifically on their cases and said it was speculation that their refusal was linked to Beijing's response to USA legislation backing pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, RTHK said.

Riot police officers stand guard as pro-democracy protesters take part in the demonstrations.

HKRMA said about 97% of survey respondents had recorded losses since the unrest began in June. The call for further action seemed to resonate among some protesters Sunday.

But Michael Tien, a businessman and pro-government lawmaker, said Monday that the onus was on Lam to convince the city's police force and her backers in Beijing that it was time to set up an independent commission of inquiry - a key protester demand. "It only follows orders from the Chinese Communist Party".

Lam did not acquiesce to protesters' demands and stated she would consider a better method for the people of Hong Kong.

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Demonstrators are angry at what they see as the China government's meddling in freedoms promised to Hong Kong when the then British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997. "Now it's up to Carrie Lam to give a response".

She will visit Beijing from Saturday to brief Chinese leaders in Xi Jinping's administration about the situation and discuss future measures.

Emphasizing that Hong Kong affairs are China's internal affairs and brook no external interference, the spokesperson urged US diplomats in Hong Kong to abide by worldwide law, including the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, and basic norms governing global relations, follow the Basic Law and other HKSAR legislation, fulfill their duties to facilitate US-Hong Kong economic and cultural cooperation, and immediately stop meddling with Hong Kong affairs and China's internal affairs as a whole.

AmCham Chairman Robert Grieves and President Tara Joseph had been traveling to Macau for an annual ball.

"We hope that this is just an overreaction to current events and that global business can constructively forge ahead", Joseph said. Unlike recent smaller-scale events, the rally was relatively peaceful, although police and protesters engaged in occasional standoffs and court buildings were lightly damaged with graffiti and gasoline bombs. As darkness fell, they lit the way with thousands of cellphone lights and sang Hong Kong's unofficial anthem, "Glory to Hong Kong".

"People are still very eager to fight for what they have been fighting for", he said.

Authorities have justified their efforts to crack down on the movement by saying that protesters are endangering public safety.

Hours before the march was due to start, police displayed weapons, including a pistol and knives, they said had been found during overnight raids where eleven people were arrested.

Hundreds of thousands of people poured into Hong Kong's major thoroughfares for an authorised march meant to coincide with the United Nations Human Rights Day.

Lam argued that an amnesty for those arrested - more than 6,000 people since June, 40% of them students - would violate the spirit of the rule of law.

The march comes two weeks after pro-establishment parties got a drubbing in local elections, shattering government claims that a "silent majority" opposed the protests. "Our government is not responding to any of them so that's why we are still here".