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HK's pro-democracy protestors return to the streets

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{HONG KONG] Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators marched in Hong Kong on Sunday in the first major protests since the December end of an almost three-month occupation against China's plan to influence elections in the city.

Carrying yellow umbrellas - the symbol of the pro- democracy occupation movement - and chanting "I want universal suffrage," the protesters walked peacefully through Hong Kong's entertainment, shopping and financial districts.

Pro-democracy demonstrators occupied streets in key parts of the city for 79 days last year, demanding China rescind its plan to vet candidates for the city's first election of its chief executive set for 2017. The Chinese and Hong Kong governments refused to make any concessions, and the final demonstrators were cleared by police on Dec 15 with organizers pledging to continue their fight for open elections.

"The Umbrella Movement started a new chapter for Hong Kong," said Daisy Chan of the Civil Human Rights Front, which organized the Sunday rally. The Umbrella Movement is the name given to the demonstrations last year after protesters used parasols to protect themselves from pepper spray.

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Civil Human Rights Front estimated 13,000 people marched, while a police spokeswoman who declined to give her name said the crowd peaked at 8,800.