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Demonstrating for democracy in Hong Kong

Hundreds of thousands of protesters filled the streets of Hong Kong to demand more democracy and oppose interference by Beijing in local politics. Lucy Watson of Independent Television News reports.

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  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The protests which took over the streets of Hong Kong this weekend and sparked a crackdown by police continued today in force. Hundreds of thousands were out tonight to protest what they call a curbing of democracy and interference by Beijing in picking local leadership candidates. The Chinese government says the demonstrations are illegal.

    We have a report from Lucy Watson of Independent Television News.

  • LUCY WATSON:

    This is a young generation empowered by unity once again here to galvanize pro-democracy thought in a peaceful way in a city that is fighting to maintain its rights and liberties.

    Tear gas and pepper spray confronted them last night, because their demands pose a threat to their own government and that of mainland China.

    Alex Chow was arrested for his involvement, but believes this is the only way.

  • ALEX CHOW, Protester:

    You negotiate. You vote. You demonstrate. You ask the government to respond, but you can see all the methods were losing their power. And then you have no way but turn to civil disobedience action.

  • LUCY WATSON:

    Britain handed over sovereignty of Hong Kong to China in 1997, with Beijing agree to a one country, two systems principle. But people now believe that autonomy is being diluted by not being allowed to elect their next head of government through a fully democratic process. There's fear the iron hand of China is tightening its grip.

  • MAN (through interpreter):

    I hope the Chinese Communist Party won't repeat what they did in 1989, the Tiananmen Square massacre, and make themselves criminals of history.

  • LUCY WATSON:

    This family watched and experienced yesterday's violence but are here again, hopeful. Even their pregnant daughter wanted to return.

  • WOMAN:

    I want to let my girl to see now they were here. We are to fight for freedom.

  • LUCY WATSON:

    There's a decidedly different atmosphere here this evening, with protesters chanting peace, love and unity, in the absence of any police presence.

    And that's because they believe the momentum of this movement is growing as the numbers increase. It's thought around 300,000 people are here tonight, proving that generations in Hong Kong are undeterred from their goals.

    Barriers still grind this capitalist hub to a halt so voices can be heard, in the hope it heralds a future for change.

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