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Tens of thousands of Hong Kong residents marched Tuesday through the streets of the former British colony to push for greater democracy in a rally fueled by anger over Beijing's recent warning that it holds the ultimate authority over the southern Chinese financial center.

Organizers expect the crowd to swell to at least 150,000 to press for reforms allowing residents to elect their leader.

Image: A protester displays a placard during a pro-democracy rally seeking greater democracy in Hong Kong
A protester displays a placard during a pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong on Tuesday. July 1 is traditionally a day of protest in Hong Kong and also marks the anniversary of the handover from Britain to China in 1997, under a "one country, two systems" agreement.DALE DE LA REY / AFP - Getty Images

Ahead of the rally, a small group of protesters burned a copy of a policy document, or "white paper," released by China's Cabinet earlier this month that enraged many residents. It said that Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy is not inherent but is authorized by the central government.

— The Associated Press