Pro-Democracy Protesters Return to Streets of Hong Kong

HONGKONG — Pro-democracy protesters streamed through the heart of Hong Kong on Sunday in their first sizable show of strength since the police cleared occupations that blocked streets for 11 weeks late last year.

The protest was much smaller and milder than the “Occupy” protests that ended in mid-December, and fell well short of the 50,000 participants that organizers had promised. In the end, they estimated that 13,000 people joined, while the police estimated that about 6,600 set off from the start.

But the march marked a tentative test of how much support the pro-democracy groups could muster in the new year for their campaign to force the government into accepting open elections for the city’s top official.

“I’m still hopeful, although the crowd is smaller,” Ms. Lang said. “But I’m afraid this movement is going to take a very, very long time.”

The police have questioned dozens of people who were involved in the street protests last year, including student leaders and politicians. But the protests’ supporters and organizers have not yet been charged with any crimes, and have usually been released after questioning — leaving the police with the option to charge them later.

The New York Times