According to organizers, nearly half a million demonstrators turned up for an annual protest to demand democratic elections in Hong Kong and to denounce China's limiting of civil liberties in the capitalist enclave.
For those keeping track at home, that's roughly seven percent of Hong Kong's entire population. Independent researchers put the number somewhere between 150,000 and 175,000 people.
Following the demonstration, over 500 protestors were arrested for failing to leave the city's financial district. From Al Jazeera's account:
Those arrested were mostly students who had decided to occupy Chater Road after taking part in Tuesday's rally, which police said attracted 98,000 people at its peak. Organizers said 510,000 people turned out, the highest estimates in a decade."
The march is part of an annual demonstration marking the anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China. This was the 17th anniversary of the return of Hong Kong to Chinese sovereignty from British colonial rule.
Hong Kongers (who knew that's actually the demonym?) have turned the day into an occasion for protest as they seek to hold China to the promises it made about allowing Hong Kong to maintain autonomy after the handover. The protestors believe that China is dragging its feet about allowing citizens to vote for a ruler in 2017.
From the Wall Street Journal dispatch:
A carnival atmosphere prevailed at Victoria Park, with crowds singing "Do You Hear the People Sing" from the musical "Les Misérables" competing for attention with a uniformed, drum-heavy marching band convened by Falun Gong, a spiritual movement banned in mainland China. Organizers said more than 100 civil groups joined the event."
Wait, what? That's right. They broke out the Les Miz. Here is a boisterous Cantonese version.
But better yet, here is a video of one young boy singing it in English in front of a window above the masses of protestors. If this doesn't give you the chills or the feels or something, you have a cold, dark heart.
The photos were pretty wild, too:
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