Pro-democracy parties hold protests in Hong Kong

By Anne-Marie Evans
BBC News, Hong Kong

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong (1 July 2010)
Image caption,
Some democrats have been angered by recent concessions

Tens of thousands of people have demonstrated in Hong Kong on the 13th anniversary of the territory's handover from Britain to China.

The numbers were smaller than in previous years, reflecting a split in the pro-democracy camp.

Some have struck a compromise with mainland China on electoral reforms.

But other colleagues see this as a betrayal and say they are not satisfied with the level of political freedom in Hong Kong.

"You betrayed us, you sold us out to Beijing" was among the slogans and abuse thrown at Democratic Party of Hong Kong (DPHK) members by more radical democrats during the demonstration.

It is the first time that there has been such a schism among the democratic camps in Hong Kong.

They have always united in their fight for universal suffrage - one man one vote - for the Legislative Council, Hong Kong's de facto parliament, and for the chief executive, Hong Kong's leader.

But the Democratic Party recently made an unprecedented agreement with the Beijing government allowing a few more legislators to be directly elected, a move that the other pro-democracy groups feel does not go far enough.

Currently, only half of the council can be voted in by the public.

Party member Christopher Yu defended his party's decision.

"We're now using a different strategy or tactic in fighting for democracy. But we still respect their voice and I hope they can respect us," he said.

A strong police presence did not prevent minor scuffles between the democratic camps as the march headed through central Hong Kong.

Thirteen years on from the end of British colonial rule student Enoch Liu was handing out little plastic versions of the old British colonial flag.

He and his friends feel that British Hong Kong had core values that have subsequently been lost.

"I think we can remember - that is what British gave us - our core value, the freedom, the respect of different opinion," he said. "I just hope to show this message to all people today."

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