Hong Kong: Tens of thousands march for democracy

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December 5, 2005 03:02

 
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Pressure mounted for Hong Kong and Beijing leaders to respond to calls for full democracy in this Chinese territory, as tens of thousands of protesters demanded the right to choose their leaders. Outside the government's headquarters on Sunday, protesters urged Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang to respond immediately to calls for a roadmap specifying when and how the territory can have full direct elections, promised as an eventual goal under its mini-constitution. Organizers said the protest drew 250,000 people - far exceeding analysts' forecast of between 50,000 and 100,000. Police put the turnout at 63,000. Sunday's big turnout indicates hopes are faltering over the government's political reform package, which critics say is too conservative. The proposed changes call for doubling the size of the 800-member committee that picks Hong Kong's leader and expanding the 60-member legislature, as steps toward greater democracy.

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