2 Jul 2012

Big protest in Hong Kong

6:05 am on 2 July 2012

In the biggest protest in Hong Kong for nearly a decade, tens of thousands of people have demonstrated against the Chinese Communist Party and demanded that everyone have the right to vote.

The protest came after new chief executive CY Leung was sworn-in on Sunday, on the 15th anniversary of the former British colony's return to Chinese rule.

Both he and President Hu Jintao have promised to preserve Hong Kong's civil liberties, which are not guaranteed elsewhere in China.

But the protesters also demanded an end to corruption and widening inequality.

China has promised the direct election of Hong Kong's leader in 2017.

Mr Hu reiterated Beijing's commitment to the "one country, two systems" policy whereby Hong Kongers are allowed many more political freedoms than Chinese people on the mainland.

Mr Leung, 57, succeeds Donald Tsang as chief executive.

The BBC reports there was a carnival atmosphere at the protest which is held every year, with political parties shouting slogans and civic groups showing their singing and dancing skills.

Mr Hu left before the protests began.