Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday December 8th, in a huge march that marks six months of anti-government demonstrations, AP has reported.
Crowds of protesters thronged the streets chanting “Fight for freedom” and “Stand with Hong Kong,” with thousands of marchers crowding the narrow streets, in what looked set to be the biggest turnout in months.
Many held up five fingers that stood for their five demands, which include democratic elections for Hong Kong's leader and legislature.
“One of our problems is that the government is not chosen by us, so they do not have to respond to our demands,” said one of the protesters, Kelly Ma.
The rally is meant to silence government claims that a “silent majority” is opposed to the protests, as many of the demonstrators expressed anger that Chief Executive Carrie Lam and Beijing have ruled out any further concessions despite the landslide election defeat.
"No matter how we express our views, through peacefully marching, through civilised elections, the government won't listen," said a 50-year-old protester to AFP, "It only follows orders from the Chinese Communist Party."
Sunday’s rally received a rare security permission as the police took the unusual step of allowing the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) to hold the gathering but they warned they would have zero tolerance for violence by radicals.
The protests are largely leaderless and are organised online. They were initially sparked by a now-abandoned attempt to allow extraditions to mainland China but have since evolved into a popular revolt against Beijing's rule, together with many other demands.