Nearly 200 arrested in massive democracy rally in Hong Kong

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Almost 200 protesters were arrested Wednesday in a Hong Kong rally for democracy that drew tens of thousands of participants.

The protesters were by and large angry at mainland China for issuing warnings against Hong Kong that some say could lead to curbs in capitalistic ventures, The Associated Press reported.

Police estimated 96,000 turned out for Tuesday’s rally, but organizers put the figure much higher — around 510,000, AP said. Hong Kong University officials guessed the turnout to be between 154,000 and 172,000.

The rally itself was mostly peaceful. It was the after-hours that turned chaotic. Two student groups decided to hold a sit-in and occupy the city’s financial district, pledging not to leave until business doors opened at 8 a.m. Police stormed through early Wednesday morning to disburse the remaining, ultimately arresting 196, AP said.

July 1 is a holiday in Hong Kong that marks with protests the handover of the enclave from British authorities to Beijing officials. This year’s protest focused on a white paper that was just released by China’s government that reminded Hong Kong who was boss.

“After seeing the white paper’s content, we should be worried,” said one protester, in the AP report. “The central government, they’re trying to tell the Hong Kong people that they are the host country and Hong Kong is just one of their regions. They’re trying to tell us they have absolute power to rule us.”

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