Tourists and residents in Hong Kong may be in for another round of mass protests in this metropole.
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters are planning to protest on Hong Kong’s streets Sunday for the first time since mass demonstrations shut down parts of the city for more than two months.
The afternoon march through central Hong Kong is expected to draw 50,000 people with police warning that attempts to reoccupy key roads cleared of a sea of tented protest camps in December “are likely”.
However no protest group has announced it intends to relaunch the occupation.
It is set to gauge the public’s appetite for the continued fight for free leadership elections, with authorities having made no concessions to activists’ demands and tensions still high in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.
Officials in December cleared the final protest camps which brought roads to a standstill with rallies that drew around 100,000 at their peak and saw violent clashes with police.
The demonstrations started in late September and lasted for more than two months, after years of disagreements over how the city’s leader should be chosen in the future.
Chinese authorities have promised Hong Kong people the right to vote for the chief executive in 2017, but ruled that nominees for the top spot will have to be vetted by a pro-Beijing committee, a proposal which has been heavily criticised by activists.
Chan said the rally would show that the Occupy movement, as the protests were known, was a political awakening for Hong Kong people.
Residents are exhausted from protests over political reform, pressuring pro-democracy activists to be more restrained going forward.
Police have requested march organisers to provide 100 marshals, which the group has said is “unreasonable”.
The original founders of the Occupy movement including Benny Tai, along with teenage activist Joshua Wong and other student leaders will attend the rally.
Hong Kong’s government is urging the public to support the Beijing-approved plan.
The proposed electoral reform package needs the approval of two-thirds of the city’s legislature in order to be passed. A vote is expected to take place in the summer.
Protests in Hong Kong pre-date Occupy, with hundreds of thousands taking to the streets to protest over issues including an unpopular security bill or at the annual commemorations marking China’s Tiananmen Square crackdown.
Last July, more than half a million people demonstrated a month before Beijing ruled on the city’s political reform.