Hong Kong Democracy activists gather to protest in the rain on Sunday.
Heavy rain on Sunday did not prevent hundreds of thousands of protesters from flooding the streets of Hong Kong as protesters gathered for democracy against the slowly escalating influence of the Beijing government.
Part of the city center was paralyzed as protesters crowded out of a park where the protest was taking place, marching through the streets despite government bans.
The demonstration was as massive as it was peaceful. Unlike a series of earlier protests where angry crowds scattered with tear gas, no clashes were reported to the police. The Civil Human Rights Front, which over the past two and a half months helped organize the high-profile rallies, estimated the crowd at more than 1.5 million people. The police said the estimate was high but did not specify a figure.
Protesters are seeking, among other things, the resignation of Hong Kong General Manager Carrie Lam, a revocation of the government's claim that the protests were "disturbances", charges have been dropped against hundreds of demonstrators and the formation of an independent commission to investigate the behavior by police and government officials.
"From frontline activists to senior citizens in nursing homes to social housing residents, Hong Kong police were subjected to police brutality in tear gas, bean bags and rubber bullets that dispersed and arrested us," the Civil Human Rights Front said in a statement.
The group said Hong Kong residents were "deeply outraged" by recent Hong Kong government and police action over the past few weeks. The crowds were crowded around Hong Kong's protests on Sunday around the government headquarters
] The Hong Kong government said the demonstration was peaceful, but "the participants occupied a number of thoroughfares on Hong Kong Island, severely affected the traffic and caused great inconvenience to the community."
Recently, President Donald Trump described the resulting riots in Hong Kong as a "tough situation", however, Beijing criticized not because it dealt with the protests. The United States and China are very divided on trade, though Trump has agreed to postpone tariffs on some Chinese goods until December.
Trump Weighs: Donald Trump calls the protests in Hong Kong tough, & # 39; & # 39; tricky & # 39; & # 39;
Supreme legislators of the US Department of Foreign Affairs issued a bipartisan statement on Wednesday pledging "universal condemnation and swift consequences" when Beijing uses violence against the demonstrators.
China's mainland government has sharpened its rhetoric against the demonstrators in recent weeks, accusing the protest leaders of "trampling" the law and making a comparison to terrorism.
The protests were triggered by a controversial proposal that would have allowed Hong Kong residents to be surrendered to China. Lam, who has killed the proposal, still faces strong criticism from pro-democracy leaders who demanded their resignation.
The demonstrations remained peaceful until about six weeks ago demonstrators beat through glass doors and stormed law offices. Police in riot gear fired tear gas to drive crowds out of the building and those who broke through the chamber before the police threatened the occupiers with violence.
This protest marks the 22nd anniversary of the former British colony's return to Chinese rule. Hong Kong operates under a framework that should include the right to maintain its own social, legal and political systems for 50 years.
Beijing has slowly expanded its control over the thriving city of more than 7 million people. Hong Kong is an important channel for China's international business, and tackling global financial interests could significantly impact China's economy.
Harley Ho, 20, student of social work, was among the protesters Sunday. She said they would not be put off by the rain and not rest until their demands were met.
"We will stand here, we will take action until they respond to us," she told The Associated Press. "In the rain, our spirit becomes stronger."
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