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Hong Kong: The Rally Returns

    By Mark Brians. February 3, 2015 - 11:31 pm

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About a month and a half since Hong Kong police forces stifled the remainders of the “Occupy” protests that lasted for 11 weeks last year.

On Sunday the protesters returned to the streets of Hong Kong in what some are regarding as a litmus test of both the degree of muster the pro-suffrage groups have in the city as well as the stance the police will assume in the coming year.

Last year the severity of the enforcement tactics incited public outcry, and for many stood as evidential testimony of the need for reform towards greater exercise of democracy.

The central issue at stake in the demonstrations is the injunction imposed by the government in which candidates for the 2017 race for Hong Kong’s top official must pass approval by a nominating committee, controlled autocratically from Beijing.

Unlike the protests last year in which tear gas and pepper spray were administered in hardy dosages, the demonstrations saw no confrontation between demonstrators and police forces.

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Also unlike the previous year, this rally was organized by the Civil Human Rights Front who obtained approval for the demonstration from the authorities prior to commencement.

The assembly this time did not shut down entire neighborhoods, or cause the closure of roadways. Rather they marched in an ordered fashion through a section of the city’s financial and business districts.

This area is key to Hong Kong’s status as a global financial hub, and is thus central to any significant move towards solidarity.

There is still some question about the exact numbers involved in the recent demonstration, but all sources agree that the turnout was significantly less than the promises of the organizers and did not reach the height of the “Occupy” protests of last year.

Photos courtesy of Citobun via Wikimedia Commons.