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Thousands Participate in Hong Kong Pro-Democracy March

Nearly 20-thousand Hong Kong residents have marched through Hong Kong to demand full democracy.

Saturday's rally took place as the former British colony marked the ninth anniversary of its return to Chinese rule.

Calls for universal suffrage have cooled in recent years, with far fewer people taking part in today's demonstrations than in previous years. In 2003, more than 500-thousand demonstrators protested during the anniversary of the handover to China.

Hong Kong was promised broad autonomy when it returned to China in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" formula. Beijing has so far ruled out full universal suffrage.

Opposition members in Hong Kong's legislature have been feuding with Beijing over the slow pace of political reforms since the handover.

Hong Kong leader Donald Tsang's reputation suffered a blow late last year when his political reform package was voted down by pro-democracy legislators, who argued the reforms were too modest.

Activists are hoping the appearance of retired chief secretary Anson Chan will increase participation in the protests. In recent days she has been urging the public to take to the streets.