Hong Kong protestors defying election of Carrie Lam chant 'We want universal suffrage'

Fiona Keating
Hong Kong chief executive vote

Around 200 protestors have gathered outside the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on Sunday (26 March) to voice their dissatisfaction with the election of Beijing-backed Carrie Lam as the city's chief executive.

Leaders of the demonstration include representatives of Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement including student activist Joshua Wong, 'Long Hair' Leung Kwok-hung and Nathan Law, the country's youngest legislator.

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"Small-circle elections are problematic because there will always be pre-chosen candidates," Leung said.

There were chants from the crowd of "We want universal suffrage". Hong Kong's electoral system has been criticised as unrepresentative of its 7.3 million inhabitants.

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Around three-quarters of the 1,194 members of the election committee were from the pro-China camp, which is approximately 0.3% of Hong Kong's 7.3 million population.

"Carrie Lam… is a nightmare for Hong Kong," said Wong, one of the leaders of the student-led Umbrella Movement protests in 2014 which brought chaos to the city for 79 days with demands of full democracy.

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"Theoretically, the chief executive is a bridge between the central government and the Hong Kong people. But Ms Lam will be a tilted bridge. She will only tell us what Beijing wants, and won't reflect what the people want to the communist regime."

The Civil Human Rights Front, who organised the demonstration, did not apply for a letter of no objection from police. As a result, police officers warned protestors that they might be prosecuted for holding an "unauthorised" demonstration, according to Hong Kong Free Press.

This provoked the crowd, who shouted that they had a right to protest and police allowed the demonstration to continue.

District Councilor Au Nok-hin, an organiser of the rally said: "It was difficult to settle on a theme for today's march [because] rallygoers have different ideals."

He added: "But there is no need to criticise people with different opinions. It is important to not be fighting over ideologies. If we do not unite, we will be failing the legacy left behind by the Umbrella Movement."

Although Hong Kong is part of China, Beijing classes it as a special administrative region (SAR). Officially, this means the city has a high level of autonomy from China's central government. However, Beijing still maintains a tight control over the city's government and law enforcement.

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