HONG KONG, June 14 (UPI) -- Up 3,500 pro-democracy protesters gathered in Hong Kong as part of the Umbrella Revolution, calling for reforms allowing for the direct election of government candidates.
The protest was made up of workers, families, students and democracy activists -- marching from Victoria Park to downtown Hong Kong's legislature buildings. The protest fell short of the 50,000 attendees organizers first estimated.
Many carried yellow umbrellas, first used to protect protesters from police tear gas. The umbrellas have since become the symbol of the protest.
A government proposal set for a vote this week will decide if a 1,200-member committee will be created to choose up to three candidates to be put forward to a popular vote in Hong Kong's Chief Executive elections in 2017. Protesters demand more say into what candidates they are allowed to vote for, urging for direct elections.
"Today we fight for the future of Hong Kong. Let's stand united against the political reform," protester Daisy Chan Sin-ying told the South China Morning Post. Signs carried in the protest included "The citizens against pseudo-universal suffrage campaign."
In essence, the government proposal would allow Hong Kong citizens to directly vote for their leader for the first time since the city gained independence from Britain in 1997, but only for candidates the Chinese Communist Party selects.