• HK protesters gather a year since pro-democracy rallies

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    SYMPATHETIC  A recently married couple get ready to take a picture outside the government headquarters building to mark one year since the start of mass pro-democracy rallies calling for fully free leadership elections in the semi-autonomous city, in Hong Kong on Monday. AFP PHOTO

    SYMPATHETIC
    A recently married couple get ready to take a picture outside the government headquarters building to mark one year since the start of mass pro-democracy rallies calling for fully free leadership elections in the semi-autonomous city, in Hong Kong on Monday. AFP PHOTO

    HONG KONG: Yellow umbrellas and makeshift tents were back in central Hong Kong on Monday as protesters gathered a year to the day since huge pro-democracy rallies brought parts of the city to a standstill.

    But numbers were small in the early afternoon and with no concessions on political reform from authorities in Beijing and Hong Kong, disheartened campaigners say they do not plan to start more mass demonstrations.

    Around 100 protesters gathered at the “Lennon Wall” – an outdoor staircase near the government headquarters that was plastered with thousands of multi-colored paper notes expressing support during the rallies.

    Rows of yellow umbrellas – symbol of the pro-democracy movement—several tents and a huge banner reading “I Want Universal Suffrage,” lined the pavements.

    At the height of the protests, thousands of tents sprawled across the major highway that runs past the Lennon Wall in the financial district of Admiralty.

    One couple soon to be married posed for pre-wedding photos at the former protest site, the bride-to-be wearing a strapless white wedding dress with a construction helmet – often worn by protesters during the rallies.

    Couples in the city frequently have commemorative photos taken ahead of their weddings.

    “The photos will be shared with our kids and grandkids and will show them what was happening in the city at the time of our marriage,” said groom Issac Kan, 29.

    Monday’s events were billed by activists as a time for reflection as they struggle to breathe new life into the movement.

    Occupy Central was launched a year ago, calling for fully free leadership elections in the semi-autonomous city, following more than a week of student protests.

    Thousands joined the already large crowds after police fired tear gas in the afternoon of September 28 last year, a move that shocked the public and galvanized the Umbrella Movement—named after the umbrellas protesters carried to shelter from sun, rain, tear gas and pepper spray.

    AFP

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