Pro-Democracy Protesters back in Hong Kong, No Violence
TEHRAN (Tasnim) - Thousands of pro-democracy protesters returned to the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday in the first large-scale rally since demonstrations rocked the global financial hub late last year.
Some 2,000 police flanked an estimated 12,000 protesters marching on the city's glitzy shopping and financial districts, seeking to avoid a repeat of the so-called Occupy Central campaign that saw demonstrations shut down key roads for 2-1/2 months.
Last year's protests for a fully democratic vote to choose Hong Kong's next leader were the most serious challenge to China's authority since the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations and crackdown in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
While organizers stood fast to earlier demands for full democracy in the former British colony, they insisted Sunday's march would be peaceful and not seek to occupy any sites.
"We want to make it clear to the government that ... we want true universal suffrage," said Daisy Chan, one of the organizers.
Packed streets resembled rivers of yellow as protesters carried yellow banners and umbrellas - a symbol of last year's campaign after protesters used them to fend off police pepper spray attacks.
Chants of "we want true democracy" echoed off high rise buildings.
While the turnout by late afternoon fell far short of the 50,000 anticipated by organizers, some participants said they were pleased the spirit of last year's action had not been lost.
While anti-democracy groups were seen on the fringes of the protest, no scuffles were reported and police separated potential troublemakers, Reuters reported.
Other protesters feared they might face violence from anti-democracy groups later in the evening, and some were arming themselves with protective shields.