Thousands march in approved Hong Kong protests

Thousands march in approved Hong Kong protests
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Thousands of people demonstrated in Hong Kong on Sunday during the first protests to be approved by authorities in months.

The march, which extended for 1 ¼ miles, was the largest since an election last month, according to multiple reports. The demonstrations reportedly attracted about 800,000 people, although police put the crowd estimate at 183,000.

Protesters shouted “Fight for freedom” and “Stand with Hong Kong," according to The Associated Press, which added that they held up five fingers symbolizing the five demands requested of the Hong Kong government.

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Police arrested 11 people earlier in the day and seized weapons, including a handgun, reports said.

The protests were the first approved by the semi-autonomous region's government since August, Reuters noted. Officials in Hong Kong reportedly said Saturday that they planned to “humbly” listen to demonstrators and acknowledge critique.

The Hong Kong protests began in June after a now shelved law was proposed to allow the extradition of people to China for trial. They have now evolved to include a pro-democracy demands. 

In the past seven months, there have been about 900 demonstrations and nearly 6,000 people arrested, according to Reuters.

Tensions between protesters and police have intensified in the recent months, as police responded to more violent protests with tear gas and water cannons.

On Sunday, protesters reportedly called police “dogs” and “cockroaches.”

Rally organizer Eric Lai has requested the police refrain from using tear gas. 

“We hope this will be a signature for our movement after six months to show to Carrie Lam as well as to the world that people are not giving up. People will still fight for our freedom and democracy,” Lai told the AP.