More than 200,000 people vote in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy primaries.

WATCH: Hong Kong opposition kicks off primary elections

Hundreds of thousands of Hong Kongers turned up over the weekend to vote in an unofficial two-day primary election held by the city’s pro-democracy camp as it gears up to field candidates for an upcoming legislative poll.

The exercise is being held two weeks after Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the semi-autonomous territory in a move widely seen as chipping away at the “one country, two systems” framework under which Britain handed Hong Kong over to China in 1997. It was passed in response to last year’s massive protests calling for greater democracy and more police accountability.

Throngs of people lined up at polling booths in the summer heat to cast their vote despite a warning by Hong Kong’s constitutional affairs minister, Eric Tsang last week that the primaries could be in breach of the new national security law, because it outlaws interference and disruption of duties by the local government.

Organizers have dismissed the comments, saying they just want to hold the government accountable by gaining a majority in the legislature.

The legislation prohibits what Beijing views as secessionist, subversive or terrorist activities or as foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs. Under the law, police now have sweeping powers to conduct searches without warrants and order internet service providers and platforms to remove messages deemed to be in violation of the legislation.

Trending Stories

  • Wife becomes dishwasher at nursing home to see husband with Alzheimer’s during COVID-19 pandemic

  • 2 ships collide head-on in Ontario’s Welland Canal, video shows

On Friday, police raided the office of the Public Opinion Research Institute, a co-organizer of the primary elections. The computer system was suspected of being hacked, causing a data leak, police said in a statement, and an investigation is ongoing.

Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp, which includes multiple parties, is attempting to join forces and use the primaries as a guide to field the best candidates in the official legislative election in September. Its goal is to win a majority in the legislature, which is typically skewed toward the pro-Beijing camp.

To hold the primary elections, pro-democracy activists had raised money via crowd funding. They pledged to veto the government’s budget if they clinch a majority in the legislature. Under the Basic Law, under which Hong Kong is governed, city leader Carrie Lam must resign if an important bill such as the budget is vetoed twice.

On Saturday alone, nearly 230,000 people voted at polling booths set up across the city, exceeding organizers’ estimates of a 170,000 turnout over the weekend.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

Related news

‘I regret all the deaths,’ Brazil’s Bolsonaro says as over 100,000 die from coronavirus.

The nation of 210 million people has been reporting an average of more than 1,000 daily deaths from the pandemic since late May and reported 905 for the latest 24-hour period.

A New Brunswick man was FaceTiming with his family in Beirut.

Tuesday's blast devastated much of the city including its port, killing nearly 160 people and injuring almost 6,000. As of Saturday, dozens were still missing.

Protests erupt across Poland against country’s government’s anti-LGBTQ2 stance.

The protests came a day after LGBT rights supporters in Warsaw scuffled with police who arrested a transgender activist, Malgorzata Szutowicz.

Trump Signs Orders Extending Economic Relief For Americans Amid Pandemic.

President Donald Trump on Saturday signed executive orders extending economic relief to Americans after his Republican party and opposition Democrats failed to reach agreement on a new stimulus...

Eleven Killed In Suspected Arson At Czech Apartment Block.

Three children were among 11 people killed in a fire Saturday at an apartment block in the Czech Republic that police believe was set deliberately.

2 1

By continuing to browse World News (UAZMI), you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and agree to the use of cookies