HONG KONG – Activists and civic groups gathered on Sunday in a mass protest toward the government office demanding for their next leader to be elected by universal suffrage. Christian and Catholic groups, however, gathered in prayer for frustrations to dissipate, and marched in earnest request for the government to grant the people democracy in the midst the angry protestors on the streets.
According to BBC news, tens of thousands of protestors turned out in the rally, much larger than many had predicted. Many citizens brought their families with them on the march. The protestors were estimated to amount to 250,000 and police at 63,000.
Meanwhile, hundreds of believers gathered at Victoria Park Basketball Court at 2:15pm in prayer and worship. The gathering was lead by United Methodist Church President Lee Ting Sun and Hong Kong Diocese Bishop Chen Rijun. Afterwards, the believers marched from the park to join the rest of the crowd at the government office with signs calling for a government to display democracy in Christ.
Rev. Lee said that although the believers’ voice were small among the mass protestors, yet he believes they had conducted the rally at a very different level than the common people who were on the streets. When asked about his views on the separation of church and state, Rev. Lee answered that the church should bear a heart for righteousness and equality as a part of the society, and should service and participate with the community.
The rally was a response to China’s refusal to conduct a universal suffrage for the election of Hong Kong’s leadership. Similar rallies took place in 2003 and 2004 as well; more than 500,000 marched the streets in protest.
The government has since made concessions by establishing a committee composed of 800 Hong Kong residents selected by the Chinese government chose the current chief executive. However, opposition leaders say that it is not enough. According the island’s constitutional document, the law calls for the leader to be elected by universal suffrage.
Pro-democracy campaigners have demanded that they are given a timetable from Beijing as to when they will be allowed to vote for their leadership.