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Thousands March for Democracy in Hong Kong བོད་སྐད།


Thousands of Hong Kong residents took to the streets Friday, calling for universal suffrage and the release of jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

Protesters marched to the Chinese government's liaison office, chanting "one man, one vote to choose our leader," and clutching signs with slogans such as "Democracy Now!"

Demonstrators also urged Chinese authorities to release Liu Xiaobo, who was sentenced by a Beijing court last Friday to 11 years in prison for subversion. The ruling prompted strong condemnation from the international community, including the United States, the European Union and Canada.

Organizers said more than 10,000 protesters turned out for the New Year's Day march. Police say less than half that number attended the rally.

Hundreds of police erected steel barricades as protesters with megaphones converged on Beijing's liaison office.

Hong Kong is a former British colony. It returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a separate political system that promises Western-style civil liberties.

Democracy is promised in Hong Kong's constitution, but the Chinese government ruled in 2007 that the territory cannot directly elect its leader until 2017 and its legislature until 2020.

Hong Kong's current leader was chosen by an exclusive committee stacked with Beijing's allies. Only half of the territory's 60 legislators are elected, with the rest picked by special interest groups.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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